'Coronavirus scams' warning from Solihull trading standards officers - The Solihull Observer

'Coronavirus scams' warning from Solihull trading standards officers

Solihull Editorial 20th Mar, 2020   0

TRADING Standards in Solihull are asking residents to be ‘extra aware’ of coronavirus scams.

The regulator also says fake medical goods are being sold in the UK.

Solihull council and local trading standards say: “The coronavirus outbreak has sparked a black market in fake medical supplies, particularly fake face masks. If you are buying masks, gloves, soap and sanitiser, make sure that you are buying them from legitimate sources and reputable retailers.”

Officers have also warned about new email scams. It asks the public to be wary of a new emerging scam involving fake phone apps. There are reports of several ‘coronavirus update’ apps, which claim to provide updates on the virus.

The fake app contains a form of ‘ransomware’, named CovidLock, which upon downloading, locks the phone and displays a message demanding that the user pay a sum of money to unlock it. These apps are being download from various unofficial websites.

Phone users are advised to only download apps directly from the Apple Store, or Android Play Store as these are safety checked by the platforms.

It has come to light that emails claiming to be from the government are offering a tax rebate to support people through this challenging period.

The emails, which look official, inform the recipient of the rebate amount and request that they click a link to receive it. At the link, the recipient is asked to fill in personal details, including their credit card number and address. These details allow the scammer to take money directly from the recipient’s bank account.

Other email-based scams include one claiming to be from the World Health Organisation (WHO). The email, which claims to hold crucial coronavirus safety advice, has an attachment which downloads a keylogger, allowing scammers to follow the online movements of the user, and gain access to their device and personal details.

Trading standards added: “The new scams are changing by the day so please be vigilant – see Citizen’s Advice for a scam checker tool.”

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