6th April 2020

New Covid-19 voucher scam

CTSI has received evidence of an online voucher scam designed to take advantage of people’s desperation during the pandemic quarantine.


By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
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Everyone must be extra vigilant and sceptical of what they receive in their email inbox, on their phones and at the front door at this time

Over the past three weeks a huge number of scams themed around the Covid-19 pandemic have emerged around the UK. The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has issued warnings about new scams arriving in digital inboxes and at front doors, in what is nothing short of an avalanche of scams targeted at the vulnerable public.

CTSI has now received evidence of a voucher scam themed around the pandemic quarantine. The scammers cloak the email in the branding of a popular supermarket chain and inform the recipient that they have received a money-off voucher to assist with purchases during the quarantine.

The email then directs the recipient to click a link so that they may claim the coupon. Rather than being a kind offer from some of Britain’s most popular chains, it is a fraudulent email which aims to steal the credit card details of the recipient.

CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: “This particular kind of scam is an old one, but the scammers have updated the theme to reflect the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am particularly concerned that many may jump at this opportunity to get money off their shopping while many people are newly unemployed, or facing a reduction in their salaries during the lockdown.

“Sometimes, there are telltale signs that the voucher offer is a scam, such as poor spelling and grammar; however, this is not always the case, and many look identical to official supermarket emails.

“The public should never click the links or input their card details. If an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Everyone must be extra vigilant and sceptical of what they receive in their email inbox, on their phones and at the front door at this time.”