Beware of Coronavirus scammers

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Police are urging people to keep up their guard against fraudsters who seek to exploit the Covid-19 public health emergency for their own gains.

Officers at Cumbria Constabulary have issued frequent warnings throughout the current situation to try to keep people safe from crime during the pandemic.

Now detectives have spoken again to remind people of some of the current threats – and how to steer clear of them.

Detective Sergeant Stephanie Goulding said: “Criminals will use every opportunity they can to defraud innocent people.

“They will continue to exploit every angle of this national crisis and we want people to be prepared.

“We are not trying to scare people at a time when they are already anxious.

“We simply want people to be aware of the very simple steps they can take to protect themselves from handing over their money, or personal details, to criminals.

“Law enforcement, government and industry are working together to protect people, raise awareness, take down fraudulent websites and email addresses, and ultimately bring those responsible to justice.”

EXAMPLES OF SCAMS

Examples of scams include emails notifying people they are eligible for tax rebates.

There have been reports of elderly people being targeted with the sale of facemasks – then the masks never arriving.

Online shopping increased during the lockdown, with people reporting buying goods online but the items not arriving.

In April there was an average of 50 reports of suspected fraud a week in Cumbria.

DS Goulding added: “Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police.

“They spend hours researching you hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment.

“They can contact you by phone, email, text, on social media, or in person. “They will try to trick you into parting with your money, personal information, or buying goods or services that don’t exist.”

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “Criminals are still operating despite the Covid-19 restrictions.

“As technology is advancing so is crime and we need to all remain vigilant around what messages we receive online and who we receive them from.

“Fake emails can look extremely convincing and professional but I would urge the public to check the email address the email has come from and do not click on any links within the email.

“These criminals can target the public from anywhere in the world, which can make them harder to catch.

“Coronavirus is a serious matter and we all want to protect ourselves as best we can and these criminals will use this as a way to try and gain access to your finances.  

“Please be vigilant and report anything suspicious to Action Fraud.”

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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland: Beware of Coronavirus scammers
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