Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, there has been an increase of criminals targetting those vulnerable and self-isolating through both internet and mobile channels sending scams regarding the topic of coronavirus. More than 500 coronavirus-related scams and over 2,000 phishing attempts by criminals seeking to exploit fears over the pandemic have been reported to UK investigators, figures reveal.

Some of the key areas that have been targetted are:


Your well-meaning contact may spread fake news, misinformation, conspiracy theories and other hoaxes via chat groups like WhatsApp. Please warn your family members and do not blindly forward posts. Only trust information from reputable sources such as the WHO. 

Malicious apps

Criminals lure victims with coronavirus tracking mobile apps. Once installed they can gain access to your camera or microphone and can even see your text messages. Some apps even lock your device and demand a ransom in order for you to regain access. Don’t get caught by malicious apps, only download reputable apps from the legit app stores. 

WhatsApp & SMS scams

Beware of fake text and WhatsApp messages talking about government checks, bank updates or coronavirus updates in your area. Criminals are using the uncertainty around coronavirus to trick you into clicking on the link and sharing your credentials. No, Netflix is not offering free passes. It’s a scam! 

Government relief scams

Text messages asking you to follow a link in order to receive a supposed COVID-19 relief payment from the government. 

Vishing scams

You may receive a robo-call or even a real person calling you pretending to be from your mobile operator, broadcaster or other businesses offering huge discounts or free upgrades due to coronavirus. Then they ask for your bank details to set up a new direct debit to the scammer’s account. Don’t ever trust anyone asking for your personal information via the phone. 

Social Media Charity Donation scams

Social media posts asking for donations to help provide supplies or find a cure. These scams are designed to defraud residents of cash. Confirm the authenticity of any group soliciting money or goods from you before you donate.

A few helpful tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Never click on links from texts and emails you weren’t expecting

  • Be wary of anything that triggers your emotions – good or bad – before donating

  • Avoid clicking on links in WhatsApp and other circulating channels

  • Only trust reputable sources, if in doubt verify.

There are a list of trusted, reputable charities here where you can donate to those who need aid during this difficult time. Ensure you do your research before putting your bank details anywhere.

The contents of this post do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only