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Coronavirus scams

Details of scams around the Covid-19 outbreak. There are a number of scams to be aware of. We will keep this page up to date as we are notified of new scams.

Swansea Trading Standards are warning people to be extra vigilant against a number of scams which are circulating and play on people's fears of the Coronavirus.

Update 16 February 2022

Grants and relief scams

Please be aware that there has been a recent rise in Covid19 scams where criminals are contacting businesses/people over the phone and via email, telling them that their Covid grant has been approved and then asking for personal details to complete the application.

Our Finance teams have received a number of calls recently from worried members of the public who have been contacted from an unknown source. These details are part of a criminal act and the only intention of the scammer who made contact is to steal your money and data.

Swansea Council are currently operating a number of Covid grants and reliefs on behalf of Welsh Government. Here are some key points:

  • The council will occasionally send e-mails inviting applications from members of the public or businesses where it is appropriate to do so in order to maximise take up of the financial support within our area. Contact will be via a legitimate swansea.gov.uk e-mail address or by letter with our official logo.
  • The Council will occasionally ring members of the public to tell them to apply for a grant but we would tell them to apply via an online form. We would not ask for any personal details. However, if you ring us and ask for assistance with completing the form, we will have to ask you for any personal details that are required for us to provide that help.
  • If a member of the public receives a phone call from an unknown source and have concerns that the contact is not genuine, they should end the conversation and contact benefits@swansea.gov.uk or ring 01792 635353 between 10am and 3pm Monday to Friday.  Any businesses with concerns should e-mail business.rates@swansea.gov.uk

HMRC Scams

HM Revenue and Customs are aware of an automated phone call scam which will tell you HMRC is filing a lawsuit against you, and to press 1 on your dial pad to speak to a caseworker. This is a scam and you should end the call immediately. If you press 1, you will probably incur a large cost to your phone bill.

Other HMRC scams include receiving an employment income support scheme credit or offering a tax refund in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember, HMRC will never send notifications by email about tax rebates or refunds and they will never ask for personal or financial information when they send text messages. More information about HMRC can be found on their website

Please let your family and friends know about the points above so they can stay safe and not fall victim. Any personal data provided to the scammer will be used fraudulently. Unfortunately, fraudsters have the ability to spoof a genuine email address or change the 'display name' to make it appear genuine so your awareness is key. If you are unsure, don't respond and use the contact details above.

Update 5 October 2021

There are still a number of scams to be aware of. If you are worried about a text message, email or social media post then don't click on any of the links and report them to Action Fraud. You should never make a payment or pass on personal information through these messages.

Covid Pass scam

Text messages are being sent out telling you to apply for a covid pass and informing that you could be fined if you fail to do so.

This is a scam. These texts are being sent in a number of formats, check carefully any text you may get in relation to Covid or from the NHS. 

Information on offical covid passes are available from the Welsh Government website. These passes are free. 

 

Coronavirus payment scam example
UK Government payment scam

One scam claims to come from Swansea Council via a UK Government website, promising a payment if people fill in a range of card details, including their security code number.

It is a scam. It is not a council initiative. Do not respond to it.

 

Update 1 May 2020

Other coronavirus scams

Here are just some of the scams we are aware of, but please note that criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online:

  • Be aware of people offering miracle cures - there is currently no cure for coronavirus (COVID-19). Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms until you recover.
  • Home decontamination services.
  • People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering 'home-testing' for coronavirus.
  • Emails saying that you can get a refund on taxes, utilities or similar are usually bogus and they are just after your personal and financial details.
  • There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect you from coronavirus. Follow the government advice on protecting yourself and ensure any protective products (such as hand sanitizer) are purchased from genuine companies.
  • There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give you updates on the virus but instead, they lock your phone and demand a ransom.
  • Your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone.
  • People offering to do your shopping or collecting medication and asking for money upfront and then disappearing.
  • Impersonation of officials, including HMRC and government agencies.
  • Subscription and streaming service emails prompting account updates or requesting personal details.

Tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Take your time; don't be rushed.
  • If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front.
  • Don't assume everyone is genuine. It's okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you. Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help if you are unsure.
  • If you are online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as www.gov.uk or www.nhs.uk websites. Make sure you type the addresses in and don't click on links in emails or messages.
  • Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
  • Know who you're dealing with - if you need help, talk to someone you trust.
  • Protect your financial information, especially from people you don't know. Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger.
  • Be suspicious of requests for updating your account details. If someone pressures you, they are unlikely to be genuine.