As many of our students and staff at King's have moved towards working remotely over the last couple of months, we’ve all been adapting to a different way of working and learning online.
While the majority of us are following government advice and local groups are coming together to support their neighbours, there are unfortunately those who will still try to take advantage of people in a vulnerable situation.
Here’s some top tips to avoid the latest scams on the rise, staying safe online, and to avoid being misinformed about Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Spotting scams through emails and text messages:
- Be mindful if you receive an email claiming to be from health bodies, such as the National Health Service (NHS) the World Health Organisation (WHO) Centres for the Disease, Control and Prevention (CDC) with a sense of urgency, poor grammar and spelling.
Watch out for calls and text messages from scammers, who may pretend to be your local GP or the NHS, and who may offer a test for the virus, or a treatment in exchange for your financial details.
You can see examples of these text messages, along with more information on these types of scams on the Office of Communications (OFCOM) web pages
- All legitimate emails from services you have an account with, such as your mobile provider, or your bank, will always address you by your name. Avoid opening emails which usually start with ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Customer’ as this is likely to be an phishing email. For more guidance on spotting a phishing email, take a look at the tips on Paypal's What is Phishing webpage.
As we are more reliant on using the internet to shop for food and other essentials during this period, it’s worth being mindful of some of the methods used by scammers, to trick you into giving over your personal or financial information.
- Watch out for fake website addresses, designed to trick you into giving away personal details such as your date of birth or your address. Be sure to check if the website you are visiting has a padlock next to the URL and starts with https://. Take a look at the guidance from Which? on how to spot a fake or fraudulent website.
- Good Housekeeping Guide has a list of all the new scams, linked to the Coronavirus outbreak, that you should be mindful of, when shopping online.
Staying well informed of the facts regarding Coronavirus when online
There might be instances where you receive messages and updates regarding the Coronavirus outbreak from friends or family members, through various social media platforms.
As a rule of thumb, you should always try to get the latest updates and advice regarding the Coronavirus outbreak, from official sources such as Gov.uk and the NHS.
If you are ever doubtful of information being shared with you, you can also check the validity of information, using trusted ‘fact checking’ websites such as FullFact and FactCheck.
Important to know:
- To keep up-to-date with the latest guidance for members of wider King's community, please take a look at our Coronavirus webpages, where you can find advice on remote study and learning with technology.
- If you think you might have have been targeted by a scam, you should report this to Action Fraud as soon as it is possible to do so.