Greater Manchester Police’s Economic Crime and Cyber Unit have seen an increase in COVID-19 related scams since February 2020.
As people across Greater Manchester adapt their lives to follow government regulations and stay home to protect our NHS and save lives, there are some who have been using the coronavirus and tapping into the uncertainty of these unprecedented times, to scam innocent people out of their hard earned money.
Detective Superintendent Estelle Mathieson, Head of GMP’s Economic Crime and Cyber Unit, said: “While we have not seen an increase in the amount of fraud taking place, what we are seeing is a change in the scams used, using coronavirus as a cover story.
“As ever, at GMP we committed to identifying these offenders as well as offering the public education and advice on how to protect themselves, making it easier to stop these scams from taking place.”
One fraud type that GMP became aware was a phishing email scam, which falsely promised the victim a free supermarket shop during the coronavirus pandemic, it they clicked on the link in the email. The link would then lead the victim to a fake site, to enter their personal and financial information.
GMP partnered with local supermarkets in order to deliver warnings and advice about this recent scam. Posters and leaflets have been placed in some local stores, sharing prevention information, and supermarkets, who are offering a delivery service to the most vulnerable, have included an information pack, produced by GMP’s Economic Crime and Cyber Unit, in customers deliveries.
Detective Estelle Mathieson, explained: “Fraudsters often target the most vulnerable in society. By working together with businesses, we can make sure that we are engaging with the right people, in the most effective way.
“I would encourage people to take the time to think before they part with their money or sensitive information, follow advice – which can be found by following @GMPFraud, and if you are unsure speak to someone you know and trust.
“Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of fraud to report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.”