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Action Fraud warns about Coronavirus online scam threat

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Action Fraud has issued a warning to people who are increasingly turning to online shopping during the Coronavirus pandemic.

During the past six weeks there has been a notable increase in the number of people reporting Coronavirus-related frauds.

More than 100 victims have been identified with losses of £970,000.

This relates to online scams, where people have ordered protective masks, hand sanitisers and other products associated to the Coronavirus.

Additionally Action Fraud has received more than 200 reports about Coronavirus-themed phishing emails, which attempt to trick people into opening malicious email attachments or reveal sensitive personal and financial information.

The advice is:

Watch out for scam messages - don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.

Shopping online – if you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know or trust, carry out some research first and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. Where possible use a credit card to make the payment, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.

Protect your devices from the latest threats – always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats.

Avon and Somerset Police are not aware of people in the force area being targeted in the latest scam but would advise everyone to follow the Action Fraud guidelines and be vigilant.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens: “This is a time when we should all be supporting one another, not taking advantage of the most vulnerable in our communities. The exploitation of local people during this already unsettling time will not be tolerated. Please read the advice from Action Fraud and let your family, friends and neighbours to be aware.”

If you think you have been a victim then please contact Avon and Somerset Police via www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/contact or by calling 101.

Posted on Friday 20th March 2020
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