Warning of COVID-19 Related Crime & Fraud

Warwickshire Police are warning everyone to apply heightened vigilance in respect of criminals who are using the coronavirus emergency to scam and trick people. There is growing evidence that criminals are prepared to trick their way into people’s homes or access things like banking information using trick emails.

In the past couple of weeks people from different parts of the UK have seen the following

• ‘Phishing’ emails from hackers claiming to provide a list of Covid-19 infected people in their area – but with a link that leads to a malicious website. – NEVER CLICK ON A LINK WITHIN AN EMAIL OR TRUST AN EMAIL WITHOUT PROPERLY CHECKING THE SENDERS ADDRESS

• Online sellers purporting to be offering face masks or hand sanitiser for sale – but pocketing money and never sending out goods.

• Heartless con artists knocking on the doors of elderly residents offering to run shopping trips – but taking the cash or bank cards and never returning.

• Thieves posing as police officers or health visitors making Covid-19 checks at homes in a bid to gain access and steal cash and valuables. – IF YOU ARE NOT EXPECTING A CALLER DO NOT LET IN PEOPLE TO YOUR HOME

While the current unprecedented situation is bringing out the best in so many people – with communities rallying round to help those in need, unfortunately there are some people who are using the coronavirus pandemic to commit crime.

Neighbouring West Midlands Police, who cover nearby Coventry, have reported that the British Red Cross had reported to them that bogus callers, claiming to be from the Red Cross, are taking cash and bank cards from people under the pretence of running shopping errands. They steal the money and use bank cards fraudulently.

Warwickshire Police say that they do not wish to unduly alarm people at this time but that they do want to keep people informed so everyone is aware and can pass on the message to older, perhaps more trusting relatives, friends and neighbours.

Some further examples of things that have taken place recently, not in Warwickshire but close by in Coventry which is within the West Midlands Police area;

A resident in the Stoke area of Coventry alerted the police to two bogus Police Constables who claimed they were checking properties for Covid-19. They quickly waved some kind of ID card but the resident asked them to wait while she wisely called the police. They made off as the woman left them to make a phone call.

Also in Coventry, concerns have been raised about a man cold-calling homes offering to check broadband signals having suggested more people working remotely was causing IT issues. This individual is another Bogus Caller.

Please keep safe and ensure any vulnerable, single occupiers or elderly are aware of these issues and of the following advice.

• Never let unsolicited callers into your home or hand over bank cards or cash

• If someone claims to be from the police, NHS or other organisation ask to see their identification. If in doubt call the organisation they claim to represent to make checks; if they are genuine they won’t mind waiting while you verify who they are. DON’T CALL A TELEPHONE NUMBER A CALLER GIVES YOU – USE THE NORMAL TELEPHONE NUMBER.

• Don’t click on links or attachments in suspicious emails

• Do not respond to unsolicited messages asking for personal or financial information.

• If you are looking at making purchases on sites you don’t know or trust then research the company beforehand.

• Keep in contact with your loved ones, especially if elderly

To report suspicious activity to us message on Live Chat via our website or go to the Action Fraud website: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

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