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Beware of scams

By Jan Becket Bean Parish Council

Wednesday, 8 April 2020


Bean Parish Council Contributor


A range of scams are appearing online as cyber criminals seek to exploit the current circumstances.
Techniques include bogus emails with links claiming to have important updates. These ‘phishing’ attempts have been seen in several countries and can lead to loss of sensitive data or disruption to our operational capabilities.
Until you're certain that the sender is genuine, you should not follow any links, or reply.
Below are some tips to spot phishing emails:

Many phishing emails have poor grammar, punctuation and spelling.
Is the design and overall quality what you'd expect from the organisation the email is supposed to come from?
Is it addressed to you by name, or does it refer to 'valued customer', or 'friend', or 'colleague'? This can be a sign that the sender does not actually know you, and that it is part of a phishing scam.

Does the email contain a veiled threat that asks you to act urgently? Be suspicious of words like 'send these details within 24 hours' or 'you have been a victim of crime, click here immediately'.

Look at the sender's name. Does it sound legitimate, or is it trying to mimic someone you know?

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It's most unlikely that someone will want to give you money, or give you access to a secret part of the Internet.

Your bank, or any other official source, should never ask you to supply personal information from an email.
Try to check any claims made in the email through some other channel. For example, by calling your bank to see if they actually sent you an email or doing a quick Google search on some of the wording used in the email.

Beware of:
• Miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19).
• Home cleaning services.
• People impersonating healthcare workers, claim to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy.
• Emails saying that you can get a refund on taxes, utilities or similar are usually bogus and they are just after your personal and bank details.
• Fake cures for coronavirus – there is no cure for Coronavirus at this time. These will not help and are designed to take your money.
• New mobile phone applications that claim to give you updates on the virus but instead, they lock your phone and demand a ransom. The UK Government has launched a Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp To use the free service simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.
• Your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone.
• People offering to do your shopping or collecting medication and asking for money upfront and then disappearing.

Tips to avoid being scammed:
• Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door.
• Take your time; don’t be rushed.
• Say no to ALL doorstep sales and requests for money, even if they claim to be from a charity. If possible, stay safe and don’t even open your door.
• If you are online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as or websites. Make sure you type the addresses in and don’t click on links in emails.
• Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
• Know who you’re dealing with - if you need help, talk to someone you know or report it to Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline – details are below.
• Protect your financial information, especially from people you don’t know. Never give your bank card or PIN to anyone.
Contact information:
• If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 where you can also get advice.
• If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.
• Contact your bank if you think you have been scammed.

To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit KCC’s Coronavirus Scams and Guidance page or and complete the online training

Contact Information

Clerk to Bean Parish Council

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Bean, Dartford, Kent