This is a scam and is not from the government

24th Mar 2020

Claim

A scam is asking people to input the personal details, including bank details, to receive “Covid-19 Relieve.”

Conclusion

This is correct. This is a scam and should not be interacted with.

Several Facebook posts have claimed to show a scam where members of the public are texted and told to share their card details in order to receive a supposed Covid-19 relief payment from the government.

It is correct that these links are scams. You should not click or interact with them. 

This sort of scam is called a phishing scam, which is where people pretend to be trustworthy companies or organisations in order to get personal information from victims.

In this case, people have received text messages, supposedly from the government, asking them to follow a link to receive a “goodwill payment” of £258 in light of the ongoing outbreak of the new coronavirus.

Both links mentioned in the Facebook posts have been flagged by Google as deceptive when you try to visit them, and only one site was active at the time of writing this piece.

The site mimics the government’s official website, and asks people to put in their postcode, personal information, and then bank and card details.

Do not supply this information online unless you are sure who you are sending it to, and it is through a safe method.

ActionFraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, says “never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.” Action Fraud has more tips on how to spot scam messages and emails here.

There are a few things which reveal this is a scam

The website url is “uk-covid-relieve.com.” The government’s website has a “gov.uk” URL, not a “.com” url.

Also the phrase ‘Covid relief’ is misspelt “Covid relieve”. Clicking on other links around the page does not lead to new pages, and the original text message appears to come from senders called “Coronavirus” or “COVID19” rather than the government. 

Also, the government has made no announcement regarding any one-off payments to the whole UK population following the Covid-19 outbreak. There are some schemes now active for the self-employed, businesses and homeowners, but none that would affect the entire population. 

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