Action Fraud have released a warning after scams involving coronavirus have cost victims over £800,000.

Since February, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) identified 21 reports of fraud where the COVID-19 virus was mentioned.

Ten of these reports were made by victims who had tried to buy face masks from fraudulent sellers.

One victim reported losing over £15,000 when they bought some of the protective items that were never delivered.

Multiple reports about coronavirus-related phishing emails trying to trick people into opening malicious attachments or giving out personal or financial information have also been received.

A common tactic seen involves fraudsters pretending to be from research organisations affiliated with the World Health Organisation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

They claim they can provide a list of people infected with COVID-19 in the area if the victim clicks on a link leading to a malicious website, or makes a Bitcoin payment.

The NFIB expects these figures to rise as the virus continues to spread across the globe.

To protect yourself, do not click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails or respond to unsolicited messages that ask for your personal details.

Try to research any companies or people you purchase something from, asking a family member or friend for advice before you pay.

Where possible, use a credit card to pay for purchases as most major providers insure online purchases.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include a cough, a high temperature, and shortness of breath.

If you believe you might have the virus, contact 111 and try to isolate yourself. Do not attend your GP or A&E.

To prevent catching the illness, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as often as you can.

Use hand sanitiser if soap and water is unavailable and try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, your sleeve, or your elbow, when you cough or sneeze.