Being home alone whilst self-isolating could mean some people affected by dementia are more likely to be vulnerable to financial abuse.
Alzheimer’s Society have worked with National Trading Standards (Friends Against Scams) to develop a shareable postcard which details different scams to look out for, as well as who to contact if you think you’ve been the victim of a scam. Please share this postcard with your networks.
The Society has also written a blog to give further information about what to look out for. The information includes the following:
For a small group of people, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may increase their susceptibility to the risk of financial abuse due to being home alone, answering telephones and being on the internet more than usual.
Fraudsters are exploiting the spread of coronavirus to commit various types of fraud and cyber crime. It’s important to be cautious, as fraudsters are changing their methods all the time.
Here are four ways to avoid coronavirus scams
1. Be wary of fake online companies
There have been reports of people who have purchased protective face masks or coronavirus testing kits online that have then not arrived.
They were purchased from fraudulent sellers who have stolen money from the victims.
Tip: Check you’re buying from a real company.
- You can search for a company’s details on GOV.UK. This will tell you if they’re a registered company or not. If you’re buying something on a site you haven’t used before, spend a few minutes checking it – start by finding its terms and conditions. The company’s address should have a street name, not just a post office box.
- Check to see what people have said about the company. It’s worth looking for reviews on different websites such as Which? – don’t rely on reviews the company has put on its own website.
- If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.
- Also, don’t rely on seeing a padlock in the address bar of your browser – this doesn’t guarantee you’re buying from a real company.
2. Learn how to spot a phishing email
Fraudsters are also sending out coronavirus-themed emails that appear to be from a legitimate company, government department, utility provider financial service.
They attempt to trick you into clicking on a malicious link in the email then ask you to provide sensitive information e.g. personal and financial details. This is known as ‘phishing’.
One common tactic used by fraudsters is to contact potential victims over email purporting to be from research organisations affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
They claim to be able to provide the recipient with a list of coronavirus infected people in their area. In order to access this information, the victim needs to click on a link, which leads to a malicious website, or is asked to make a payment in Bitcoin.
Tip: Be careful where you click.
- If you get an email from a company with a strange email address or one that has never emailed you before asking you for money/payment unexpectedly, don’t click on links to download anything. Doing this could infect your computer with a virus. Make sure your antivirus software is up to date to give you more protection.
- There is also plenty of COVID-19 information available online from reputable sources, including Alzheimer’s Society, GOV.UK, and the WHO.
To see an example of a scam go to BLOG