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Do you know how to spot fraud online?

Take Five is a national campaign to provide impartial advice to protect people against fraud, particularly where criminals impersonate organisations. Visit their website for more information

What should you be looking out for?

Fake emails and text messages

Criminals are sending official-looking emails and texts containing links to websites designed to steal your personal information. These emails and texts pretend to be:

  • From the Government, offering
    Grants of up to £7,500
  • Access to Covid-19 relief funds
  • Council tax reductions for people on benefits
  • Help applying for Universal Credit, while taking payment as an advance for their ‘services’.
  • From the NHS Test and Trace service, stating the recipient has been in contact with someone diagnosed with Covid-19.
  • From TV Licensing, telling people they are eligible for six months of free TV licence because of Covid-19 and/or problems with direct debits.
  • From TV subscription services (such as Netflix) asking them to update their payment details.

Fake advertising and exploitation

Criminals are also using fake advertising, such as fake investment opportunities and adverts for Covid-related products such as hand sanitiser and face masks which do not exist.

There have also been cases of exploitation by online dating websites. Fake social media pages are created, sometimes using the identities of real people, to manipulate victims into handing over money.

For further information about reporting fraud and cyber crime, visit

Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cyber crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.