Unfortunately, Citizens Advice nationally has seen an increase in scams since the beginning of the pandemic. Common coronavirus scams they’re seeing are about bogus testing kits and vaccinations, as well as government refunds or fines and scams involving selling items on the internet. Watch out for messages about coronavirus from unusual email addresses or phone numbers, and don’t click on any links. Be aware that you won’t be asked to pay for coronavirus vaccinations – they are provided for free by the NHS.
Here are some general warning signs to look out for:
- You suspect you’re not dealing with a real company – eg, if there’s no postal address
- You’ve been asked to transfer money quickly or to pay in an unusual way – eg, by iTunes vouchers or through a transfer service like MoneyGram or Western Union
- You’ve been asked to give away personal information like passwords or PINs
- You haven’t had written confirmation of what’s been agreed
If you think something is a scam you should hang up the phone, close the website, or shut the front door. Never feel pressured to make a decision straight away, and don’t give out personal details or money unless you’re certain you can trust the person. If you feel threatened or unsafe ring 999.
You can contact Citizens Advice Sherwood and Newark for information and advice:
- General advice on 0800 144 88 48 or Textphone 18001 0800 144 8 444, Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm.
- The local office number on 01623 861769, where you may be offered a call back.
- Chat online to an advisor at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/contact-us.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Consumer issues on 0808 223 1133 or Textphone 18001 0808 223 1133.
- Universal Credit Help to Claim line on 0800 144 8444 or Textphone 18001 0800 144 8 444.
- Citizens Advice Scams Action advisers on 0808 250 5050.