Warning over coronavirus scam texts which demand money ‘for leaving the house’

Josh Salisbury (03 April, 2020)

The fake text message contains claims to be from the government, saying that people have left their homes too many times and they must pay a fine

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A warning has been issued about coronavirus scam texts which orders people to pay money supposedly for leaving their home more than once.

It comes after police in Southwark urged residents to be vigilant over Covid-19 related fraud, saying they had received reports of people visiting homes pretending to be coronavirus testers.

The fake text message contains claims to be from the government, saying that people have left their homes too many times and they must pay a fine.

The government has only sent out one official text message announcing the lockdown, and any other texts claiming to be from the government on coronavirus are false.

Among them are a text which states: “We would like to inform you that you have been recorded as leaving your home on 3 occasions yesterday.

“A fine of £35 has been added to your gov.uk account. For further information please visit gov.uk/coronavirus-penalty-payment-tracking. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.”

One such scam highlighted by Richmond Council

This scam has been reported by residents in Richmond, south-west London, to their council.

Its leader, Cllr Gareth Roberts, said that the coronavirus crisis was acting as a beacon to “scum” who want to exploit the vulnerable.

He said: “My message is simple – if you are sent a message from any official organisation asking for money or any personal information – it is almost certain to be a fake. Do not click on any links.”

Separately, Action Fraud has warned that a scam currently circulating is an email claiming to be from the government asking for donations to the NHS.

It has received 41 reports of the scam this week. “This is a fake email and your money will only end up in the hands of a criminal,” it said.

“The NHS will never ask you to send money directly to a bank account.

“If you would like to donate to the NHS you can do so via their official channels or your local NHS Trust.”

More details about how to protect yourself from con artists and common tricks being deployed during the crisis can be found on the Action Fraud website here.

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