Latest Scams & How To Avoid Them

This is West Yorkshire Trading Standards’ weekly update on COVID-19 related scams.

Holiday scams set to increase as UK lockdown is eased.

Holidaymakers be warned: Several holiday scams are being advertised on social media. Criminals will try and take advantage of the uncertainty surrounding travel.

  1. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Criminals will often set up fake websites offering ‘cheap travel deals’ which are used to obtain your money and information. Always check the URL in the top left corner, as this can indicate if the page is fraudulent.
  2. Fake listings online for caravan and motorhomes. Always be wary of any requests to pay by bank transfer when buying goods or services online. Instead opt to use secure payment options recommended by reputable websites.
  3. Criminals are creating fake social media accounts imitating that of the real organisation, often claiming to assist with refunds. Ensure you contact the real organisation directly to confirm requests using the contact details found on their official website.

Scams Trending Regionally & Nationally

  • Reports of consumers being contacted online via Facebook stating that they have won the ‘Powerball’ lottery in the US – criminals ask for money upfront before the ‘winnings’ are released.
  • Recent reports suggest that people are being targeted by compromised emails that look like they have been sent by a friend. The email explains that the sender is currently in hospital and asks the recipient to purchase Amazon Gift cards on their behalf. The amount is usually around £300-£400.
  • Fake messages to O2 customers claim that payments have not gone through, so customers need to update their payment details. The link leads to a fake website, where criminals will steal your bank account details.
  • Reports of a believable phishing message pretending to be from Instagram’s help centre, threatening to close your account if you don’t hand over personal information.
  • Fake phishing email offering national insurance refund. The message informs the recipient that according to their National Insurance contributions, they are eligible for a tax refund as part of measures to alleviate the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Mailbox to deal with reports of Covid-19 Scams in West Yorkshire: Covid19.Scams@wyjs.org.uk

Forward scam emails to report@phishing.gov.uk

Report complaints to Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline: 0808 223 1133

Report scams to Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040