26th March 2020

New Covid-19 text scam alert

A new text message scam has emerged which seeks to exploit people’s fears during the coronavirus crisis.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has been sent evidence of a text scam circulating which claims to offer a lump sum payment from the government to the recipient.

A screengrab of the latest text scam

Similar to a recent email-based scam offering a bogus tax rebate from HMRC, this new scam claims that the government are offering lump-sum payments “as part of its promise to battle Covid-19.” Each text specifies a particular sum and asks the recipient to tap the link to a bogus website which requests payment details from the recipient.

CTSI has issued warnings about multiple scams which have arisen over the past fortnight in the wake of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: “While the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is bringing out the best behaviour from the majority of the public, it is also leading to a sharp rise in scams. Opportunists have unleashed a barrage of different scams to try and defraud the public out of money during this vulnerable time.

“The government are not issuing lump-sum payments, and anyone who receives these texts should ignore them and not tap the link.

“For trusted news and advice on Covid-19 coronavirus, check for updates from the Department of Health and Social Care in the UK, Public Health England and the World Health Organisation (WHO).”

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