The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the livelihoods of millions of people across the world, with many being unable to work or losing their job completely. It appears, however, that scammers have been able to capitalise on the situation, using panic, uncertainty, and confusion to their advantage to scam people out of their money. In some places there has been as much as a 400% increase in the reports of scam emails and calls.
Jigsaw Group is urging all our residents to stay extra vigilant during these challenging times and avoid being victim to the many scams that are currently circulating.
Below are some of the ways scammers operate and how to avoid falling victim.
You may receive a text or an email that appears to be from a legitimate company such as HMRC, PayPal, the NHS. They may ask you to update your contact details or alert you to a failed payment. They sometimes include a link to click on, which when clicked can install malware on your computer, enabling the scammer to access your personal data.
To avoid being ‘phished’ be wary of emails from any organisation and do not click any links in emails unless you are certain the email is legitimate. Check the email address the email has come from to see whether it is the official email address. For example, emails from Jigsaw Group will come from an email address ending in @jigsawhomes.org.uk but a scammer may use something like @jigsaw-homes.com. There are also often spelling and grammar mistakes in the body of the email, which you wouldn’t expect from an official organisation.
If you are unsure, delete the email and contact the company that claims to have emailed you directly to check whether the email is legitimate.
There have been reports of scammers selling items such as PPE or hand sanitiser online and either the items are fake/poor quality or simply don’t turn up when ordered.
If you are buying such items online, ensure that they are from a reputable retailer and avoid clicking ads on websites or sponsored posts on Facebook.
There have been reports of people knocking on doors and offering to do shopping cleaning for vulnerable residents and taking their money. Remember, never let someone in your house if you’re not sure if they are who they say they are, and always ask for identification. Jigsaw Group employees always where identification and you can call 0161 331 2000 to carry out an identity check.
There have been reports of people receiving calls from scammers pretending to be from utility companies, banks, mortgage lenders and other such companies. They may be claiming to sell new products or confirm details.
If you aren’t expecting a call or you suspect the call may be fraudulent, hang up immediately and DO NOT give any bank details or personal information over the phone.
People have shown enormous amounts of generosity during the coronavirus, raising money for many charitable causes as well as the NHS. Unfortunately, scammers have capitalised on this generosity, sending out emails asking people to donate to the NHS.
The NHS will never ask you to make donations via a bank transfer or using Bitcoin. Do not make any payments or click any links if you receive an email asking you to donate to the NHS. If you wish to donate, you can do so at the official Just Giving page:
Support if you’ve fallen victim to a scam.
Remember, all the above is fraudulent activity, which is illegal. If you’ve been a victim, you can report fraud to the police at https://www.met.police.uk/ro/report/fo/fraud/ or call 111.
Greater Manchester has launched its Take Five campaign to stop scammers. For more information visit https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/
If you suspect scammers are operating in your neighbourhood, please get in touch so we can alert our residents in that area.