The Daily Mail has today reported the following scams:
Callous fraudsters are spoofing official government phone numbers and impersonating the taxman in a bid to coax worried Britons into handing over money or their bank details.
One screenshot posted on social media platform Twitter by Sky News political reporter Tamara Cohen, showed scammers had managed to hijack the thread of a genuine official UK Government coronavirus alert service, which sent out a text message earlier in the week. The message - appearing to be from the genuine number - told the recipient that they needed to pay a £35 fine, after being 'recorded as leaving their home on three occasions'. There are then two links that the recipient could open. These are likely to go through to dodgy websites looking to steal personal information or install malware.
Given the current climate, many may be panicked by the message and click the link without processing the contents properly. Fraudsters are able to send messages that appear to come from genuine numbers - such as the Government, or banks - with inexpensive services available online offering 'number spoofing,' which we explain in more detail further below.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police shared a text message claiming to come from a line labelled 'coronavirus', telling the recipient they were owed a £258 'goodwill payment' from HMRC, and that they needed to follow the link to get it. Following the link would have likely resulted in victims handing over their bank details to fraudsters, who could subsequently use it for identity theft or to simply steal money from bank accounts.
The fraud messages come less a week after the UK's official fraud reporting service Action Fraud revealed £970,000 had been lost in coronavirus-related scams since the start of February. While the majority were related to online shopping scams, with people ordering masks or hand sanitiser which never arrived, there were over 200 reports of phishing emails.
Never click on links that are included in a text or email unless you are 100 per cent sure it's verified.