Scams In The Time of Coronavirus

(with apologies to Gabriel García Márquez)

As expected, scammers are trying to take advantage of fears over Covid-19 (the Coronavirus) to push their victims into unwise actions – often for profit. I have already seen two scams announcing UK government universal income payments that you have to visit a web site to claim.

We can expect :-

  1. Similar offers to claim your government universal income payment.
  2. ‘Magical’ vaccines, cures, or treatments at specially discounted rates.
  3. Offers to sell goods in short supply – toilet paper, hand sanitiser, medical masks, etc.

And probably a whole lot more attempts to defraud you. Or the university.

Be wary of emails, phone calls, or any other form of communication that :-

  1. Tries to induce a sense of urgency. By rushing you, the scammer hopes to bypass your “wait! is this sensible” thought.
  2. Tries to get you to bypass normal procedures – those procedures are in place for a reason, and whilst we need to be flexible in these times, procedures shouldn’t be completely bypassed.
  3. Tries to claim authority (governmental, official organisation, or senior management) to get you to take urgent action.
  4. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Which is pretty much the advice in ordinary times.  

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