Staying safe and avoiding scams

Scams are among the most prevalent types of crime in the UK, and coronavirus is creating a perfect environment for fraudsters to thrive using a range of loathsome tactics.

  • Be aware of people offering or selling:
    • virus testing kits – these are only offered by the NHS
    • vaccines or miracle cures – there is currently no vaccine or cure
    • overpriced or fake goods to protect yourself from coronavirus, such as anti-bacterial products
    • shopping or medication collection services
    • home cleaning services.
  • Protect yourself and others:
    • Don’t be rushed into making a decision. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
    • Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
    • Don’t assume everyone is genuine. It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
    • If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone attempts to pressurise you into accepting a service, they are unlikely to be genuine. Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help if you’re unsure.

If you receive a call from your bank to say you’ve been scammed and they need to check some details with you, do not give them any information (such as your national insurance number, date of birth or the security code on your bank card). Here’s what to do:

  • hang up (if the caller is genuine, they won’t mind)
  • call another number (a friend or family member, for example) to check that your line has been disconnected properly
  • call the bank back on a trusted number (usually printed on a bank statement or your bank card) to ask if the call was genuine.

Please note that we won’t make calls to ask you to make automated payments to us. Please hang up and call us on 0300 123 5544.

For advice on scams, please call Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline – 0808 223 1133 or visit

To report a scam call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

If you think you have been scammed, please call your bank.