Coronavirus has changed the way we’re living and this has created new opportunities for fraudsters to target us all. However, if we take a few precautions, we can help protect ourselves and the ones we love from fraud.

Don’t be too trusting

Scammers love to impersonate the people we trust. They tell us that they’re from the Police or Bank’s Fraud Department, that someone has been trying to access our bank account, and we have to move our money to a ‘safe account or new account’.

They’re looking for your data

They write to us, call us, knock on our doors, text us and send us emails with links so they can steal personal data, passwords and PINs.

Too good to be true

They’ll contact you with special offers that seem unbelievable – and they are. Their ‘get rich quick’ schemes and investment opportunities simply don’t exist. They’ll try to sell you fake goods, such as hand gels and face masks at prices you won’t see anywhere else.

They use tech to trick us

They make fake websites that are almost exact copies of the real one and send us links that hook us in. Or they target us by phone, changing the number so it displays something we recognise. When they text us, they use the same headers as the bank so it links with real messages we’ve already received. They’re sophisticated and know how to make us trust them, and they use that trust to trick us.

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Stop and Take Five

Before you click any link, claim any win or take up any deal – Stop and Take Five. Can you confirm who they are? Is it too good to be true? If you’re not sure, investigate first and stay safe.

1. A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue and ask for your PIN, full password, Secure Key Number, or to move money to another ‘safe’ account.

2. Neither the Police nor the bank will ever ask you to help in an investigation. If someone claims to need your help and to ‘not trust bank staff because they are in on it’, then you are talking to a fraudster.

3. Please don’t allow someone you don’t know to take control of your computer – even if they say they’re from your bank, the Police or your internet provider.

4. Please don’t automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text. Just because it says it’s from your bank – it might not be.

5. Always question uninvited approaches in case they’re a scam. Contact the company directly, just to check, using a known email or phone number.

Source: HSBC