NatWest issues scam warning – how customers can reduce risk during coronavirus crisis
The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is having a devastating impact across the world – with more than 30,000 people sadly having died in the UK from the virus. It’s also having a financial impact too, with many experiencing pay cuts and job losses during this unprecedented time.
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While the majority of the population is pulling together and helping one another in a plethora of ways, sadly, some are seeking to take advantage of the crisis.
Last month, Action Fraud revealed more than 2,000 online campaigns related to coronavirus in the last month, have already been removed, amid the launch of the cross-governmental ‘Cyber Aware’ campaign.
In a bid to raise awareness about the risks of falling victim to coronavirus scam tactics, NatWest is reminding customers how to stay safe against scams.
“We know that fraudsters are taking advantage of the current pandemic to exploit people’s uncertainties, and take advantage of their fears,” the bank said.
NatWest has also shared its top five tips on how to stay safe against scams and fraudsters.
Looking for personal identifiers in emails
“At NatWest, we always use at least two pieces of information (such as your name and partial postcode) to show it’s us contacting you, and most banks do the same.”
Protecting personal information
“Your bank will not ask you for your full PIN, your password, or to move money out of your account. Never give this information away.”
“If you can, set up online and/or mobile banking so you can keep an eye on your accounts. If there is any unusual activity contact your bank immediately.”
Keeping alert for official-looking messages
“Watch out for fraudsters posing as HMRC, or offering you tax refunds. If you’re unsure, reach out directly to HMRC to confirm before you open any links or respond.”
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Watching what you’re sent
“Don’t click on links or open emails from senders you don’t know.
“In particular, be careful when accessing any emails or links which seem to come from trusted organisations such as the World Health Organisation or the Government.
“If you do think you’ve been subject to a scam or scam attempt, report it to your bank immediately.”
Addressing coronavirus scam tactics, Commander Karen Baxter, City of London Police, National Lead for Fraud, said: “As we all stay indoors and spend more time online there is more opportunity for criminals to try and trick people into parting with their money.
“Law enforcement are working closely with government to ensure the public, and businesses, are as well-equipped as possible to fight online harms.
“This process will be greatly assisted by the new suspicious email reporting service which empowers the public and enhances police capabilities to step up their response to fraud.
“Officers have already executed a number of warrants across the country to target and disrupt criminals sending emails and texts designed to steal your money.”
Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Unfortunately scammers see these uncertain and worrying times as an opportunity to prey on people. We’re encouraging the public to report any suspicious emails to the NCSC’s new takedown service.
“Through our own Scams Action service – made up of a dedicated helpline and special tool which offer advice for people affected by online scams – we see first-hand the devastating impact these terrible crimes have.
“This initiative will help take down even more harmful sites, which means fewer victims”.
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