Scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to get their hands on your personal information. As fast as a scam gets stopped in it’s tracks a new one emerges. And just as we are seeing a record number of people working from home, so too are the scammers who are taking full advantage of the current pandemic and are ruthless even in these turbulent times.

These cyber criminals are thoroughly taking advantage of coronavirus worries and coming up with more ways to con money from innocent people.

Barclays Bank recently published new figures which showed that during the first six months of 2020, there was an incredible 66 per cent increase in reported scams. The biggest increase in fraud reports to the bank during lockdown were impersonation scams, where criminals pretend to be from a legitimate organisation such as a bank or tax office and attempt to pry personal information from potential victims.

In June, HMRC reported a 74 per cent increase in scam tax emails, where criminals have been posing as tax office employees and exploiting the coronavirus worries of people who may have been furloughed or lost their jobs.

The increase in Covid cons has been so sharp it has forced regulatory bodies to warn the public against falling victim to scams and has released a Take Five To Stop Fraud campaign.

To help people identify a scammer UK Finance are urging consumers to always stop and think before parting with their money or information. They have also released a list of the top scams that have been reported during the Covid crisis.

Here is a list of the types of scams UK Finance is urging the public to keep an eye out for:

Covid-19 Financial scams

Criminals are creating fake emails designed to look like they are from the government offering grants to help those struggling, emails and texts contain links which steal personal information. They have also been targeting people receiving Universal Credit and Covid-19 relief funds.

Lockdown Scams

These include TV Licensing, TV subscriptions, fake investments and online dating websites. Criminals have been sending fake emails telling people they are eligible for discounts in payments and subscriptions due to corona virus, however again they are redirected to fake sites which will steal your personal information and try to take money from your bank account.

The banking and finance sector is working with the government and law enforcement to help identify scams and prevent people becoming victims of fraud. The industry is also encouraging everyone to remain vigilant and to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, and to Stop, Challenge and Protect when they receive any messages out of the blue:

Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

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