Coronavirus has impacted people’s financial security as well as their health concerns. The economy has taken a severe hit and thousands, it not millions, will likely see their income or employment reduced.
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Because of this, people may be more susceptible to scams which offer financial solutions as they become more desperate for a safety net.
This sordid state of affairs has been illuminated by recent figures from various public bodies.
Towards the end of March, the City of London police reported a 400 percent increase in scams as a result of coronavirus related fraud.
On top of this, Action Fraud revealed that 105 reports had been sent to them concerning coronavirus criminality.
While these are worrying figures, support and advice is available for concerned individuals.
James Jones, the Head of Consumer Affairs at Experian provided some relieving words: “The health and safety of you and your loved ones is enough to worry about at the moment without adding an increased risk of falling foul to fraud into the mix.
“That’s why we wanted to arm you with the tips and advice you need to make sure you’re prepared to spot these underhand scams”.
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James’ advice concerns four key elements/examples:
- Scammers claiming to be tracking coronavirus, providing updates or offering treatments or protective equipment
- Emails claiming to be from HMRC or other government bodies offering financial assistance
- Investment schemes and trading advice taking advantage of the of the economic impact of coronavirus
- Text messages and emails from companies you know well requesting personal details or for you to click on a link
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These scams can, evidently, be deceptive and easy to fall for.
Fortunately, James detailed that the best response for them can be just as easy: “If faced with any of the above, don’t give out your personal details unless you’re sure you know who you’re dealing with, and don’t click on links in emails and texts.
“If you think the message is genuine, contact the organisation directly using the details you already have for them.”
There are also further actions people can take that concern day to day living situations.
The internet itself is also something that people need to keep an eye on as James gives advice on how to protect online presences:
“Protect your home WiFi by making sure it has a secure password set up and always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices.
“Visit Action Fraud and Get Safe Online for guidance on how to do this, plus more advice on how to shop safely online.”
Another element of modern life that people worry about is credit records.
Efforts have been made in recent weeks to protect credit scores but it is still worth keeping an eye on reports according to James:
Keep an eye on your credit report
“By checking your credit report regularly, you can keep your eyes peeled for any new credit searches or new accounts you didn’t apply for and quickly report anything that doesn’t look right.
“By raising the alarm early you can greatly limit any credit score damage and, therefore, inconvenience to you.”
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