Coronavirus text scams UK

Coronavirus text scams.
A genuine text message about the coronavirus outbreak is being sent out by the government to everyone with a mobile phone. It looks like this [1].

Scammers also sending Coronavirus texts

Scammers have been quick to take advantage of the Coronavirus crisis and are sending text messages regarding refunds, fines and even free school meals.

One scam text doing the rounds appears to come from the same number as the official UK government coronavirus alert service does. That means it will appear in the same message thread as the genuine text, which makes you think it’s also from the government.

The fake message tells the recipient that they’ve been fined £35 after being “recorded as leaving your home on 3 occasions yesterday.” There are two links in the message for “further information.”

It’s unknown what happens if you click these, but you just know it’s going to lead to something bad.

Coronavirus HMRC goodwill payment scam

A further coronavirus scam text message tells the recipient that they are owed a £258 “goodwill payment” from HMRC, and should follow a link to get it. It looks like this [2].

The link goes to a dodgy domain name (see photo) and, of course, the refund amount might be any amount – it’s not necessarily going to be £258.

Remember, HMRC is never going to send you a refund notification via text, or ask you to click on a link to apply for anything and/or provide more information, such as bank details.

The same advice goes for texts received from banks and building societies, The DVLA, police or any other official body.

Genuine Coronavirus government help for the self-employed

As I write this the government have just announced a scheme for the self-employed whose business has been affected by the virus outbreak. They say:

HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.

Individuals do not need to contact HMRC now and doing so will only delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the scheme.
If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help or 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 is a scam.

Genuine text message from the UK government about coronavirus.

[1] Genuine Coronavirus text message from the UK government.

Coronavirus HMRC text scam.

[2] Scam Coronavirus HMRC text message.