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Council issues Covid-19 scam alert

By Tom Dare | Birmingham | Coronavirus | Published:

A text message being sent to Birmingham residents telling them they can claim £458 of coronavirus aid is a scam, the council has announced.

The message sent out to residents, left, and the fake website, right - image courtesy of Birmingham City Council

The text features a link to a fake government website which urges users to enter their postcode to apply for Covid-19 relief.

However the council has warned people not to click the link, announcing that it is a scam on their Twitter feed.

“SCAM ALERT: Seen a message for £458 resident payment as part of Government’s COVID-19 response,” the Tweet reads.

“Do not click link this is a scam”

More than 1,000 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed across the Midlands so far, while in Birmingham the number of people infected more than doubled in just two days.

And it seems that scammers are keen to take advantage of the uncertainty and fear among the public, sending out messages to unsuspecting residents.

Trading Standards this week condemned ‘a blitz’ of scams surrounding the virus, with criminals using the internet, telephones and doorstep calls to operate scams ranging from the sale of fake sanitisers to false offers to run errands for the elderly and vulnerable.

The full text of the message sent out reads: “URGENT: UKGOV has issued a payment of 458 GBP to all residents as part of its promise to battle COVID 19. Tap here to apply”

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Lord Toby Harris, chairman of National Trading Standards, this week urged citizens to be vigilant around potential scams.

And he also advised people to ‘look out’ for those who may be vulnerable to fraudsters.

“At a time when neighbourhoods and communities are coming together to support each other, it is despicable that heartless criminals are exploiting members of the public – including some of our most vulnerable citizens – to line their own pockets,” he said.

“I urge everyone to be on their guard for possible COVID-19 scams and to look out for vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours who may become a target for fraudsters.

“We’re calling on communities to look out for one another. If you see anything suspicious, report it to Action Fraud or to speak to someone for advice, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service.”

Tom Dare

By Tom Dare
@tomdare7

Local Democracy Reporter covering the West Midlands Combined Authority.

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