Ofcom: advice about coronavirus scam calls and texts

Ofcom /

Ofcom has reported an increase in related fraudulent calls and texts associated with coronavirus as scammers are taking advantage of the panic.

Both home phones and mobiles are being targeted, often claiming to be from the Government, your GP surgery, the NHS, or even the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Scam Calls

The calls usually feature a recorded message claiming to be contacting you about the coronavirus. They might offer a test for the virus, treatment or cure, or might offer to discuss your medical needs.

These calls encourage you to either speak to an operator or press a button on your phone for more information. Giving personal or financial details to an operator could result in identity theft or financial loss. Pressing a button could connect you to a high-cost premium number.

Scam Texts

Scam SMS messages often claim to be from the Government, HMRC or a Healthcare service. Usually havethey are informing you of a payment that you're owed or including a link or attachment which can’t be trusted. Never click on them.

There have been reports of SMS messages which claim that the recipient is being fined for leaving home during the lockdown - these are definitely not genuine, the sender preys on the vulnerable recipient clicking a link to take them to a fraudulent phishing website.

What you should do

If you receive a phone call, SMS or other communication that you think might be a scam, hang up or close the message immediately, then report it to Action Fraud, including the phone number that was used to contact you.

The full article on the Ofcom website provides examples, what to look out for, along with ways to report a suspected fraudulent call or message.

Paul Bell