Coronavirus Scams – Staying Safe and Aware At Home
Many of us are staying safe at home in order to maintain social distancing, protect our family members, neighbours, and many healthcare and essential workers in our communities. However, while most people are supporting one another, unfortunately, there is a huge increase in criminals and con-artists exploiting the coronavirus pandemic for their own financial gain. Coronavirus scams are being used by criminals to target residents across the UK and the financial and emotional toll can be devastating for those affected. We highlight some of the Coronavirus scams that literally come knocking at your door and show how to improve your home security so you can maintain a safe environment for you and your family, and you do not need to be worried about the looming threat of these scams.
What Is A Coronavirus Scam?
A scam or fraud occurs when someone uses trickery to gain an unfair advantage, often financial, over another person (1). A whole array of new scams have emerged in recent months to take advantage of the fear of coronavirus, the UK government’s social distancing measures, and the more isolated state that many of us now find ourselves in. Action Fraud, the UK’s reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime reported in mid-April 2020 that 2 million pounds have already been lost to coronavirus scams and fraud (2). Because of this, it is extremely worthwhile to consider how to improve home security and remain vigilant at all times.
Types Of Coronavirus Scams
Since early March 2020, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has witnessed and reported on a huge range of coronavirus focused scams with CTSI Lead Officer Katherine Hart recently stating “I am continually astounded at the scale of new scam activity in the UK since the pandemic hit. Never have I seen such a gigantic surge in activity targeting UK consumers (3).” Each coronavirus scam uses a different delivery method ranging from hoax emails, phone calls and text messages, fake websites through to opportunists blatantly knocking on peoples’ doors but all are centred around the coronavirus pandemic theme. Due to the huge increase in scams in the current climate, it may be worth considering improving home security.
Dangerous Doorstep Scams
We naturally want to feel safe within our homes but a spate of recent doorstep scams demonstrate how important it is to remain alert. A doorstep or door to door scam occurs when someone comes to your door and tries to scam you out of money or tries to gain access to your home (4). Here are some examples of current coronavirus door to door scams to be on the look-out for…
1.) Fake Testing And Disinfecting
UK Trading Standards has received numerous reports of people arriving in a white van pretending to be council workers sent to disinfect doorbells, doorways or other parts of the house. Some door knocking traders also offer to disinfect driveways claiming ‘that the work will protect against the spread of COVID-19’ (5). There are also reports of criminals pretending to be healthcare professionals offering coronavirus testing and temperature checks as a way of gaining access to people’s homes.
2.) False Offers Of Help
There are amazing charities and volunteers legitimately helping many people who are currently self-isolating – but unfortunately, there are also criminals who pretend to be from charities and offer to do a person’s shopping, taking the money in advance but never delivering the promised food items.
3.) Parcel Delivery Scam
Many of us are ordering more products online for safe delivery direct to our homes. However, Hertfordshire police recently advised of a door to door scam involving items being ordered with cloned debit or credit cards which are then delivered to other peoples’ addresses. Victims of the scam accept courier packages that are addressed to them containing items, often iPhones or laptops, that they had not ordered. Shortly after receiving the delivery, another ‘courier’ representative arrives to collect the parcel saying it has been delivered to the wrong address. Police are advising the public not to accept any parcel deliveries they have not ordered, due to the increased chances of it being a parcel delivery scam (6).
Staying Safe At Home
It is essential to remain vigilant and protect yourself and your family from doorstep traders and scams. Fortunately, there are effective steps you can take when considering how to improve your home security. For example, domestic CCTV installation is considered to be one of the most effective ways of reducing crime. CCTV ranked as the number 1 deterrent for home thieves according to a CO-OP Insurance survey of 12 ex-criminals (7) because it provides a highly visible deterrent to potential doorstep scammers who know that recordings collected may be used to identify them and provide evidence about their activities. It is extremely worthwhile to consider installing CCTV systems to improve home security, or even other security systems, such as alarms, access control, locks, etc. These systems can work to keep you, your family, and home safe in these uncertain times.
Choose A Reputable Home Security Company
With over 30 years’ experience providing home security solutions, our professional team at KBO Security are well placed to ensure your family benefits from the most effective and secure locking systems, home CCTV and burglar alarm systems. The well-being of employees and customers is our number 1 priority and our team are taking extensive steps to maintain hygiene and minimise risk at this time. We continue to provide the professional advice and service we are known for in order to meet you and your family’s security needs during these unprecedented times. We are always happy to go above and beyond for each and every one of our customers, ensuring completely tailored solutions specific to your home and concerns, to improve overall home security generally and help to tackle Coronavirus scams.
Unfortunately, some people who knock at our doors are not acting in our interest, even if they claim to be. However, by staying vigilant, consulting a reputable security company and installing the latest security systems you gain confidence, peace of mind and a home that is a haven for you and your family. For more information about our services and to speak to a member of our team, please get in touch on 0800 999 60 70.