BEWARE! This is a warning about a scam email message, which is currently circulating. It is addressed from ‘the World Health Organisation’ re Covid-19.  It says they have created a special ‘Philanthropy Foundation’ and they are asking for donations.  DELETE IT

It goes on to say: 
‘The ‘Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund’, is a secure way for individuals, philanthropies, and businesses, to contribute to the WHO-led effort, to respond to the pandemic.

The email goes on to say it will spend the money to

1.Send essential supplies such as personal protective equipment to front line health workers
2.Enable all countries to track and detect the disease by boosting laboratory capacity through training and equipment.
3.Ensure health workers and communities everywhere have access to the latest science-based information to protect themselves, prevent infection and care for those in need.
4.Accelerate efforts to fast-track the discovery and development of lifesaving vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments.

Your donation could save millions of lives.

THIS IS A SCAM EMAIL – PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO IT. It even contains this warning:

‘Caution: External email. Think before clicking links or opening attachments.’

Then asks you to do exactly that


Scams/Price Hikes/Loan sharks i.e. Illegal money lending/Phishing emails/Bank Scams

Nationally, there have been reports of frauds relating to the supply of face masks, primarily online; fraudsters trying to persuade people to disclose personal information by posing as legitimate bank, police or health officials over the phone or through emails. Some claim to provide medical guidance, investment opportunities or a safe place to which to transfer money. Victims then hand over financial details or click links that may contain dangerous malware.

Other frauds include emails asking people to visit a fake website bearing an HM Revenue and Customs logo, with the promise of a tax refund. An associated website claims that, as a precaution against coronavirus, the government has set up a new tax refund programme.

Phishing emails

Fraudsters are contacting potential coronavirus victims over email claiming to be from research organisations affiliated with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), according to Action Fraud.

They claim to be able to provide the person with a list of coronavirus infected people in their area.

But when the victim clicks on a link, it leads them to a malicious website, or they are asked to make a payment in Bitcoin.

Do not click on links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.

Even if you know the sender, don’t reply if an email looks odd with spelling mistakes and a messy layout.

Do not reply to unsolicited emails.

Bank scams

People are using the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to try to scam others by claiming to be their bank.

Banks will never ask you for your full PIN or password, or request you move money from your accounts.

Shopping online

Fraudsters are using online marketplaces to sell goods like face masks and hand sanitisers that don’t exist, or even self-isolation boxes.

Before you buy anything online, it’s best to do some research and check reviews to make sure a seller is genuine.

Ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase.

If you go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.

HMRC fake emails

Taxpayers have been targeted by a HM Revenue & Customs coronavirus scam.

Researchers at cyber-security firm Mimecast found consumers were being sent messages from scammers promising a tax refund.

The texts or emails contain a link directing recipients to a fake website bearing an HMRC logo.

The website encourages victims to share their name, address, phone number, mother’s maiden name and bank card number — details that would equip a fraudster with enough information to access a victim’s bank account or purchase a financial product in their name.

“If someone emails or calls you claiming to be from HMRC saying that you are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it’s a scam,” said HMRC.

Fraudsters use a range of techniques, including emailing or phoning taxpayers and offering a bogus tax refund, or threatening them with arrest if they don’t immediately pay tax owed.”


Loan Sharks/Illegal Money Lending

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) recognise that this period may be one of increased financial pressure for some people. The Team is fully committed to ensuring that illegal money lenders (loan sharks) do not take advantage and profit from other people’s hardship.  

The Stop Loan Sharks helpline service (0300 555 2222) remains open and fully operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage not only victims but friends, family members and the wider community to come forward if they suspect someone is suffering at the hands of a loan shark.

General scams

Fraudsters come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online.

  • Be aware of people offering miracle cures for coronavirus – there is no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19). Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms until you recover
  • The council DO NOT need to enter your house to do a deep clean
  • Bogus healthcare workers claiming 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.
  • There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect you or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to just take your money
  • There are new mobile phone apps that claim to give you updates on the virus, instead they lock your phone and demand a ransom
  • Your bank or the police will NEVER ask for your bank details over the phone
  • People offering to do your shopping and ask for money upfront and then disappear


Top Tips from RBWM Trading Standards

  • Do not let uninvited callers into your home Not to deal with cold callers at any time, either by phone or at the door, but particularly those who may seek to exploit the current situation.
  • If you receive a leaflet through your door with offers of help please check to see if the person is indeed a local neighbour and that it is a genuine offer.  If you are unsure then ask the advice of a family member, friend or neighbour first.  Firstly try and engage with people you already know, like and trust for help.  Not a stranger
  • Do not give away too much personal information
  • Do not hand over bank cards or give out any PIN numbers either on the doorstep or over the telephone. 
  • Don’t let yourself become lonely.  Age Concern, Slough and Berkshire East, have set up ‘Hear for You’ – a call service for the elderly which will offer emotional support and help organise help and practical support if needed.  Call them on 01753 497888. 
  • Our team of RBWM Community Wardens are still out there working in your community.  They can be contacted on 01628 685636 and
  • Report concerns about doorstep callers to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service Helpline on 0808 223 1133, and in urgent cases to the police on 999.
  • Report concerns about fake products or false claims made about products, contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice consumer service helpline on 0808 223 1133 or via their chat service online.