Local groups working together to provide support during the pandemic, are warning residents and businesses not to fall victim to any Covid-19-related scams.
Organisations across Wiltshire are asking people to be extra vigilant as criminals look to take advantage at a time when many people are vulnerable.
In recent weeks a number of attempted scams have emerged across the country, including:
• people receiving text messages informing they are ‘eligible’ to apply for a vaccine and then asking them to provide bank details
• people receiving text messages that claim to be from the HMRC inviting them to claim for a ‘grant’
• scammers looking to take advantage of businesses applying for business grants
People are urged not to provide their banks details in response to any email, phone call or text from anyone claiming to be part of the NHS vaccine programme. Bank details, passwords and pin numbers will never be requested as the Covid-19 vaccine is free and this should be an automatic red flag.
If a person or business is applying for a grant then they will always get a unique reference number from a legitimate source, such as the local authority, once they’ve filled in an application, and this will always be quoted in any correspondence. Any unsolicited correspondence asking for bank details should be ignored.
Cllr Simon Jacobs, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public protection, said, “Unfortunately there are always shameful people ready to take advantage and illegally make money out of unfortunate situations – even a global pandemic. We’d hate to see people or businesses out of pocket at what is already a difficult time for many.
“We ask people to be extra vigilant to this type of crime and also look out for any friends, family and neighbours who might be vulnerable to it.”
Cllr Cathy Martyn, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member, said, “If you have been a victim of cyber fraud please contact Action Fraud, but if you suspect a caller at your door is involved in a Covid-19 scam you should call the police immediately on 999.”
Warning over Covid vaccine scam – see page 2.