How to Avoid Corona Virus Scams

My best advice to customers when I worked in a bank was to tell them “if something looks too good to be true – it usually is”.

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 place 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.

Typically, they’ll get in touch through: 

  • phone calls
  • emails
  • texts
  • social media posts 

Remember, the Banks will never ask you for any PINs or passwords or to move money to a safe account.

Scammers also use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to target crime so be aware of any suspicious request for money.

NHS workers

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 it could be a scam. Look out for bad spelling, odd addresses and generic greetings. As a rule, never click on links in unsolicited emails or texts.


Criminals are pretending to be from HMRC and offering a goodwill payment from the coronavirus fund to the elderly.  Again, HMRC won’t email, text or call about tax rebates or penalties so it could be a scam. If you receive a message that looks like it’s from HMRC, go to the HMRC website on your browser to check it’s genuine.


 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!


Customers 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 that they can, claiming to come from a legitimate organisation such as a bank, online payment service, retailer or similar.

Payment fraud

These are highly prevalent and are called Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams. The caller asks for payment using 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.





Volunteering to help in the wider community

Many of you will already be looking out for friends and neighbours around you. The Council have now launched a Wirral Info Bank aimed at providing assistance to our local communities. If you follow the link you will see that a number of churches are now providing details of the help that they are providing and this is greatly encouraging. It is recognised that churches are uniquely positioned to provide valuable help in their local areas. Some of you have said you’re not able to help outside the home, but you may be able to phone others who are isolated.

If you or any person you know would be willing to volunteer to offer local help individually can you please ask them to register with Community Action Wirral at the following link. COVID-19 – For Volunteers where all local volunteering help is being coordinated.



Being Christian Community with Covid 19 (St Albans diocese)

Golden Rule One. Each one of us can think about how we can protect and support our neighbours. So much of the public rhetoric is sowing fear about the danger of other people. So, taking all the official precautions,  offer help and reassurance to others – and don’t demonise anyone or any group.

Golden Rule Two: Think about who may be suffering more than me. For those of us who are healthy there is much less to worry about but the elderly, the housebound and those with chronic health conditions may be very anxious. How about each church undertaking an audit of all the vulnerable people they know and sharing out the responsibility to phone them each day. There’s nothing like a friendly voice to offer solace when someone is worried. A smile can bring cheer, even on the phone. If you visit, follow all the official precautions or don’t go.

Golder Rule Three. Don’t give into panic and start hoarding food. There is plenty to go around, so practise the Christian discipline of sharing. Ask your neighbours what they need and do you best to help them get it. If you are self-isolating you will of course need some supplies.

Golden Rule Four. Live today to the full. None of us ever know what the future holds. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6. 25 – 34), Jesus challenged his followers to live each day fully and not be afraid. Every time we are tempted to give in to fear we need to make a conscious choice to respond in trust and openness.

And, along with just over half the adults in the UK, don’t forget to pray!

Dear God our Shield and our Defender, guide and protect my neighbour in this time of health emergency; deliver them from all harm and may your love and care ever grow in this place. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.           Revd Louise Collins, Team Vicar, Borehamwood