NatWest reveals the top scams fraudsters are committing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Purchase scams in which goods are offered for sale but then never actually delivered are on the rise. The number one purchase scam reported in May was for Nintendo Switches, closely followed by pet related scams and hot tub purchases. Additionally, fake TV Licence and HMRC emails continue to scam customers into giving away bank account information.
Social distancing has been used by scammers to carry out a number of pet purchase scams, especially for pedigree dogs. This was the second most reported scam to the bank during May. Fraudsters are using social distancing rules as the reason the dog cannot be seen until the money is transferred. The dog subsequently doesn’t exist and the fraudster becomes uncontactable.
Hot tub scams increased five-fold in May with the warmer weather leading to an increase in the number of purchases.
There was also an increase in TV Licence and HMRC scams. These commonly target customers with emails stating a payment is due and link to a fake site. It is advised these types of emails are always treated with caution and to avoid clicking on any links.
Jason Costain, Head of Fraud Prevention at NatWest said: “Fraudsters are taking advantage of the current situation with more of us shopping online. We’ve seen an increase in customers not receiving the items or pets they have paid for. Customers should try where possible to use a credit or debit card when making a purchase online, purchase from a trusted seller, follow the security advice on the website and avoid making payments directly to an unknown seller. It is also worth remembering that if a deal appears too good to be true, it probably is!”
More information on how to avoid scams is available from www.natwest.co.uk
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