People across the UK have reported a whole host of scam texts and phone calls throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of UK retailers and banks have been name-dropped in an attempt to dupe unsuspecting victims out of their hard-earned cash during lockdown and it is showing no sign of slowing down as lockdown restrictions ease.

Scammers have been taking advantage of the current situation and will often make contact via email, phone calls and texts using sophisticated methods to exploit people.

Why does it seem so easy for fraudsters to get hold of our details?

It is thought scammers have been taking advantage of the pandemic when targeting victims.

Taking advantage of more people shopping online which according to experts, could leave your details vulnerable. 

But Richard De Vere, director of the AntiSocial Engineer, a cybersecurity consultancy told the Telegraph: “We can’t even pretend that we can trust it any more.

“It’s really old tech, but scammers are just starting to understand how powerful it is.”

HMRC, Natwest and even the NHS are among the British companies being used to target Brits.

Royal Mail scam

Royal Mail customers have fallen victim to a number of scams set up by fraudsters.

Last month, an actor took to social media to warn others of a Royal Mail scam which saw her bank account wiped clean by fraudsters.

The Royal Mail have released a number of warnings over the past few months warning customers of fraudsters trying to scam money out of the public.

Lead officer Katherine Hart said: "This delivery scam is yet another example of fraudsters attempting to make money out of the unsuspecting public.

"Due to the lockdowns, many millions of people rely on product deliveries, so scammers have focused their efforts on this theme.

"Royal Mail will only ever contact you via text or email if a customs fee is due, not for domestic parcel delivery. If you have any suspicions, contact Royal Mail to verify before you click any links or share details.”

She added: "Also, the public must also be aware that these types of scams may come in many forms, and scammers do not only use Royal Mail branding.

"Indeed, in January, I commented on a similar scam that used DPD branding.

"These types of scams come in many forms, not just via text but also in emails and through the phone."

How to spot a scam

There are a number of ways that you can spot a scam or fake message. Things to look out for include:

  • Checking the ‘from’ address - is it from a company or organisation, or from a random email address? It should be worth noting that scammers often change their names to make the emails look like they’re from a legitimate company, but it’s always worth checking
  • Is the greeting impersonal? Royal Mail says that fraudsters “often use subjects or greetings that are impersonal and general”
  • Is there poor spelling, grammar or presentation? While scammers are getting better at making their messages look more professional, a more common thing to look out for it lack of consistency in the email, like different font styles or sizes, and mismatching logos

If you’re unsure about the message you’ve received in any way, you should always err on the side of caution.

Reach out to the company that is supposedly trying to communicate with you in a way that is completely separate from the message.

Don’t use any phone numbers, email address or linked websites. Instead, search for the company and use a different number or email address, from its website for example.