Scams are defined as a crime where someone tries to trick a victim into giving them money or personal information either through the post, on the phone, online or even on their own doorstep.
Scam artists tend to prey on vulnerable adults, with statistics showing that 53% of people aged 65+ have been targeted, with the average age of those falling victim to scams being 75.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has provided the perfect environment for scam artists to thrive. In March, The City of London Police reported a 400% increase in covid-related scams. These scams have ranged from phishing sites to unscrupulous fraudsters offering to do shopping for people who are self-isolating.
Spotting a scam
Spotting a scam can be quite difficult as scam artists can be very convincing. Here are a few signs of a scam which are particularly relevant right now:
- Unsolicited emails and texts - a lot of scammers are claiming to be official health bodies, e.g. the World Health Organisation or NHS, who you weren’t expecting to hear from.
- Check grammar and spelling - unprofessional letters or emails can be a sign of a scam. Look out for poor English or vague details, and email addresses that have lots of numbers in them or are misspelt.
- Pressured into decisions - phishing messages are designed to scare you into making a quick decision. Don’t be pressured into making decisions, and if you suspect a scam call, don’t redial the number – always use a trusted source for contact details.
- Asking for personal details – often you’re asked for personal details such as bank details, PIN numbers and passwords. This isn’t common practice, so if in doubt hang up and contact the company directly using a trusted phone number.
For information on specific coronavirus-related scams please click here.
At Guinness, we’re committed to protecting our customers and staff against fraudsters. We’ve partnered with Friends Against Scams to train our colleagues and customers and help make a stand against scams. Read more about our partnership here.