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How to avoid coronavirus scams

Some fraudsters are trying to exploit the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity for financial crime by posing as trusted organisations like banks and even the World Health Organisation. 

They may pretend to offer a safe haven for your money or medical guidance. They’ll then try to trick you into making a payment into a safe account, giving personal or financial information.

雅博体育appTypically, they’ll get in touch through: 

  • phone calls
  • emails
  • texts
  • social media posts

雅博体育appRemember, HSBC will never ask you for any PINs or passwords or to move money to a safe account.

How to report it

If you think you've been the victim of a coronavirus scam, report it to us as soon as possible on 03456 002 290.

雅博体育appYou can also visit the for more help on protecting yourself against fraud.

We also have our scams leaflet (PDF, 331.1KB)雅博体育app which tells you more about how to stay safe online.

New coronavirus scams to watch out for

雅博体育appBe aware of the scams below, and regularly check for more warnings on our social media channels: , and .

NHS scam

Criminals are targeting NHS workers with fake texts offering a goodwill payment from HMRC because of coronavirus. HMRC won’t text, email or call about tax rebates or penalties so this could be a scam. 

Safe account scam

Fraudsters are exploiting coronavirus by offering the chance to move your money to a fake safe account. We'll never ask you to do this. If you're suspicious, hang up or don’t reply to the message.

Purchase scam

Fraudsters are using coronavirus to offer fake goods, such as face masks and hand gel. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Use secure payment methods and only buy from sites you trust.

Fake testing kits

雅博体育appBeware of fraudsters pretending to be medical professionals, promising coronavirus testing kits for a fee. Don't be rushed into a decision. Only criminals will try to rush and panic you.

Other examples of fraud and scams

HMRC

We’re seeing criminals pretending to be from HMRC and offering a goodwill payment from the coronavirus fund. Again, HMRC won’t email, text or call about tax rebates or penalties so this could be a scam. Look out for generic greetings like 'Dear customer', bad spelling and odd addresses.

If you receive a message that does look genuine, go to the HMRC website on your browser to check the information given there tallies with what's in your message.

Government impersonation scams

On 24 March, the UK Government sent a text to the public asking people to stay at home. This was legitimate. However, fraudsters are also impersonating the Government, sending texts to people claiming they’re being fined for leaving their home more than once a day.

Phishing

雅博体育appCustomers in vulnerable circumstances are receiving unsolicited emails offering insurance and investments. Phishing is an attempt by fraudsters to 'fish' for personal information such as the security details you use for banking. They send an email to as many email addresses as they can, claiming to come from a legitimate organisation such as a bank, online payment service, retailer or similar.

Payment fraud

雅博体育appWe’ve seen confirmed Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams with payment references mentioning coronavirus or COVID-19. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that the fake caller used the virus as a conversation starter. They may have used these words in the payment reference to make it look more genuine to us.

Payment diversion

雅博体育appSome business customers are being targeted too. They're being invited to purchase a “COVID Bond” or being told to send money to a different account because their account is being frozen by a foreign government.

Buying and selling

Watch out for scammers exploiting the demand for things like face masks, test kits and hand sanitiser by selling fake or non-existent products online. Only use sites you trust and be wary of requests to pay via bank transfer. Also look out for deals that appear too good to be true – they probably are.

School closures

Some parents have received fake emails telling them their child is entitled to free school meals. Parents are then asked to send their bank details so they can get help with funding while schools are closed. Please remember, schools will never ask for your bank details via email.

Doorstep fraud

雅博体育appThere have been cases of fraudsters targeting the elderly and vulnerable, offering to do their shopping or other odd jobs. This may seem like a genuine act of kindness, but fraudsters are taking money or cards and never returning. 

雅博体育appIf you can, please only accept help from friends, neighbours or those you know and trust.

Investment scams

雅博体育appBe aware of scammers capitalising on current stock market volatility. They may unexpectedly contact you through emails and phone calls with:

  • an attractive investment offer on new shares
  • a report on investments you already have
  • a share dealing discount

These tactics are also called ‘boiler room’ scams, as criminals will often pressure you into investing.

It’s easy to get in touch online. Talk to us directly through our chat channels.