Business and consumer advice and support

Be aware of coronavirus scams

During the coronavirus outbreak, criminals are using new methods to get personal and financial information such as fake websites, emails and texts promising tax refunds, encouraging parents to claim refunds for school meal payments, and telling people they have been fined for leaving the house.

Other fraudsters are trying to sell fake testing kits, cures, or fake protective goods.

Help avoid scams during the coronavirus outbreak.

Be aware of:

  • People you don't know offering shopping or medication collection services.
  • People selling medical products such as miracle cures, facemasks and testing kits.
  • Emails or calls pretending to be officials, including HMRC or government agencies.
  • Fake subscription and streaming service emails asking you to update your account or personal details.
  • Social media quizzes and games that ask for personal information (for example, your mother’s maiden name) that could be used to access your accounts.

Protect yourself and others:

  • Don't be rushed into making a decision. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
  • Only purchase goods and services from legitimate retailers and don't assume everyone is genuine. Take a moment to think before parting with any money or giving out any personal details; it's ok to refuse or ignore requests you're not sure about.
  • If someone claims to represent a charity or organisation, ask them for ID.
  • If you need to check or update any account details, go directly to the company's or organisation's website or use their known contact details, rather than clicking links in emails.
  • Speak to your family and friends before accepting offers if you're unsure.

For advice on scams, visit the Citizens Advice website or call the consumer helpline on  0808 223 11 33.

You can report a scam to Citizens Advice, or to Action Fraud through their website, or by calling 0300 123 2040.