Avoiding fraud during Covid-19 pandemic

Avoiding fraud during the Covid-19 pandemic

Daventry District Council's Counter Fraud Team are working closely with the Government, national initiatives and other local authorities to share information about the latest fraud scams and how to avoid falling victim to them.

It is important that you remain vigilant and guard against criminals using the publicity around Coronavirus as a chance to target you with fraudulent emails, phone calls, texts messages or social media posts.

If you have been a victim of fraud or you wish to report a scam please visit the Action Fraud website

Fraud hotline

The Crimestoppers COVID Fraud Hotline (0800 587 5030) helps people report fraud within the public sector during Covid-19.

The hotline aims to protect the public purse from individuals and companies seeking to undermine the stimulus schemes brought in by the Government to assist people during the pandemic.

Report your concerns anonymously on 0800 587 5030 or visit the COVID Fraud Hotline website to report issues online

Types of scams and how to avoid them

Phishing scams

There has been an increasing trend of COVID-19 phishing and SMS text message scams.

Typical examples: 

  • Fake URL links claiming to redirect you to gov.uk website to claim relief payments. 
  • Lockdown fines suggesting you have breached government regulations. 
  • Offers of health supplements that will prevent you from being infected. 
  • Financial support that appears to be from your bank. 
  • Fake text messages claiming to be from the NHS advising individuals that they are eligible to apply for vaccine, but requiring sensitive data such as financial information to make a payment. 


Tips and guidance:

  • Never click links within emails or text messages: Links take you to fake websites. 
  • Never call back using an unrecognised SMS phone number: This could lead you to speaking directly with a criminal or criminal organisation. 
  • Use official channels: For example, use gov.uk to find relevant information about COVID support and support services. Once the official communication channels are known you can verify information and find out what the next steps are. 
  • Guard your data: A legitimate organisation won’t make unsolicited requests for sensitive information or payments. For example, the vaccine is only available on the NHS for free to people in priority groups. Use the official NHS app only available from Google Play or Apple Store. 
  • Don’t give into pressure: If someone tries to coerce you into giving them sensitive information, end the conversation. 
  • Watch your digital footprint. Cyber criminals will use social media accounts and relevant websites to research you and make their scams more effective. Request the removal of unnecessary information and check your privacy settings for every account. 

Reporting phishing scams

  • Please report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. 
  • Forward suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk
  • Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).

Email scams

Fraudsters purporting to be businesses or the Government offering you a service which you never receive. These types of scams are after your personal details such as emails, passwords and bank details.


  • Research Groups: Fraudsters purporting to be from a research group that mimic the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO). They claim to provide the victim with a list of active infections in their area but to access this information the victim needs to click on a link which redirects you to a page where you input your bank details. 
  • NHS: Emails asking for donations during the crisis. These emails ask you make a donation directly to a bank account.


Tips and guidance:

  • Do not click on suspect email links sent to you  
  • The NHS would not ask you to send money directly to a bank account. If you are wishing to donate to the NHS, please contact your local NHS Trust
  • There are no health groups at present offering any services where you can obtain active infection information
  • Please visit official sources such as the Government or NHS websites for the correct information and advice.
  • If you receive a scam email please report it at: report@phishing.gov.uk
  • Find out more at  www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/report-suspicious-emails


Business Advice Mandate fraud

If you receive a request to move money into a new bank account, contact the supplier directly using established contact details, to verify and corroborate the payment request.

Tips and Guidance

  • Establish robust internal processes for handling changes to payment details. For example, only designated employees should be able to make changes to payment arrangements. 
  • Sensitive information: Invoices, payment mandates, and other documents containing sensitive financial information should be stored securely and only be accessible to those staff that need them to perform their duties. Sensitive documents should be shredded before they are disposed of.


Other frauds and scams

A range of information about other frauds and scams can be found on the A-Z of scams on the Action Fraud website

Further protection advice online can be found at: