Avoiding COVID-19 scams

Last updated: 14 September 2020

Unfortunately, during these difficult times there are many COVID-19 scams circulating, targeting the most vulnerable in our communities. Be aware these scams will try to con you out of money. They may be received by post, email, telephone, text or face to face.

Please be aware a scam is currently circulating in regards to refunding your council tax payments due to Covid-19. The letter directs you to what appears to be a UK government website: (gov.waltham-support.co.uk) where you are prompted to enter a 6-digit reference number contained in the letter. When entered, you are asked to provide personal information.

Please do not follow the link or give any information.

If you have given details, such as your bank or council tax details please contact your bank/building society and call our customer service team on 023 8083 3009.

If you would like to report any instances of the above information being used in similar fraud attempts please email them to intel@nafn.gov.uk and the details will be forwarded to the relevant teams.

Fraudsters may also pretend to be from the NHS Test and Trace service to con people into handing over personal details. If the NHS test and trace service contacts you, the service will use text messages, email or phone.

Contact tracers will:

  • call you from 0300 013 5000
  • send you text messages from ‘NHS’
  • ask you to sign into the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website
  • ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating

Contact tracers will never:

  • ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to us (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product of any kind
  • ask for any details about your bank account
  • ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts

Please see the NHS test and trace: how it works for the full guidance and latest information.

  • Council Tax scams via text and email are circulating locally including an email which appears to be from GOV UK. It has the subject line Online Application - You are getting a Council Tax Reduction or Working out your Council Tax and there is a button within the email to claim your Council Tax Reduction. We urge people not to click on the link in this email or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages, texts and calls that ask for personal or financial details.
  • Please be aware of anyone selling or advertising coronavirus kits and cures. Do not respond to these. It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you. Take your time to discuss what is being asked of you with friends or family.
  • The police, or your bank, will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to a different account. They will never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN.

Important notice

Some Southampton residents who been identified as clinically vulnerable but have not yet registered for government support, may get a text message from Southampton City Council under ‘SotonCC’ or 07860064055 where a reply is needed.

The Government has only sent one text message to the public regarding new rules about staying at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Any others claiming to be from UK Government are false.

Criminals are able to use spoofing technology to send texts and emails impersonating organisations that you know and trust. We would remind anyone who receives an unexpected text or email asking for personal or financial details not click on the links or attachments.

Before you respond to any offer, please remember the Take Five protection advice

  • Stop: Don’t be pressurised into sending off money immediately to someone you don’t even know.
  • Think: How likely is it that I’ve specially been chosen? Millions of people have probably received the same offer.
  • Think again: Always read the offer carefully. Speak to family or friends or seek advice

How to report scams

Reporting to Action Fraud can be done online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Latest scam advice

For the latest advice on COVID-19 scams and fraud protection, please visit Citizens Advice, Trading Standards or the Action Fraud websites.