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Latest fraud scams

Some criminals are using coronavirus as an opportunity to scam the public and in particular, our vital NHS and keyworkers. We want you to be prepared, be alert and be safe. Below we've listed about the latest scams and how to protect yourself:

Be aware of the latest scams 

Investment scams - Fraudsters are calling and emailing people to offer an them high returns for investments. The process they follow looks and feels genuine. Protect yourself by checking the FCA website to ensure the firm is registered. Call the firm on the number from the FCA website to ensure the person you're dealing with is genuine, especially if you’ve received a call after completing your details on-line.  Fraudsters can clone genuine websites. 

Text messages – Criminals are sending scam texts (‘smishing’) claiming to be from government departments, banks or trusted organisations, offering payments relating to Covid-19. The texts link to fake websites that trick victims into giving away their bank details and passwords. Never click on links in messages from senders you don’t know and don’t reply to numbers you are not familiar with.

‘Safe’ accounts - Text messages, phone calls and emails are being sent, claiming they’re from first direct or another bank and even the police. Fraudsters are trying to persuade people their money is at risk, and to move their money into a ‘safe account’, which is an account owned by the fraudster. first direct will never ask you to move your money to a safe account.

NHS HMRC scams – Fraudsters are impersonating HMRC by offering a goodwill payment from the coronavirus fund. Be alert to these communications that claim to be from HMRC.

Buying and selling scams - Face masks, hand sanitisers and testing kits are being sold online that are non-existent. Only use websites you know and trust, and think carefully if you are asked to pay by bank transfer.

Key worker offer scams – Key workers are being offered a reward for their services. Before proceeding with any deal, make sure the offer really comes from the trusted retailer and check that the offers are genuine.

Fake equipment  - Medical and Personal Protective Equipment is being offered which has not been approved by trading standards. Also fraudsters will ask for payment details without any intention of delivering the equipment in order to steal card details.

Government grants and free virus tests – There are fake text messages which promise government grants or offering free virus tests. Please be cautious of links in messages from senders you don’t know and don’t reply to numbers you are not familiar with.

Internet provider fraud - Fraudsters have been contacting people claiming they can speed up an internet connection, or pretending to be your broadband provider or the police to inform you that your connection has been compromised. You should never screen share or provide remote access to your computer to somebody you do not know and never log in to internet banking whilst somebody else has control of your computer.

Free school meals – Parents who are claiming free school meals with schools being closed are being contacted by fraudsters who are taking card details from those who rely on this service. 

Doorstep fraud – The elderly and vulnerable are being targeted with the offer of having their shopping or other jobs done. Fraudsters are then taking money or cards but never returning. Please only accept help from those you know and trust. 

How to protect yourself from fraud

Here’s a list of things we’ll NEVER ask you do, so you know – if you get asked for this, or anything similar, it is likely to be a fraudster.

  • We’ll never phone and ask for your PIN or password or even ask you to tap your PIN into your phone keypad.
  • We’ll never ask you to provide your bank account details to us over the phone from an e-mail, text message or from your secure key.
  • We’ll never arrange for your bank cards to be collected by the police or courier due to an ongoing scam investigation
  • We’ll never ask you to withdraw money or pay for goods using your card and then hand them over to us for safekeeping.
  • We’ll never send someone to your home to collect cash, your PIN, cards or cheque books, even if you are a victim of fraud.

If you’re ever uncomfortable about speaking to someone who claims to be from first direct, we won’t mind if you ask to ring us back – it’s the right thing to do if you feel uneasy.  Please leave a gap of 5 minutes before you call back to make sure the call is fully disconnected before you ring us back.  

For more information, visit our fraud awareness page.

For more straight-forward and impartial advice visit Take Five – To stop fraud which is a national campaign to help raise fraud awareness.