Coronavirus: Lynne Owens warns public over online scams
Gangs have used the lockdowns to prey on the vulnerable, using the virus as cover. Hundreds of thousands have fallen for scams in which criminals claim to be officials offering rapid Covid testing, vaccinations and general help. Others have masqueraded as workers from firms such as Royal Mail, DHL, Hermes and UPS in text scams. During the first 12 months of the pandemic, there were 470,000 instances of fraud, equal to almost 1,300 a day. But the true figure is likely to be significantly higher as many may not report the crimes out of fear of embarrassment.
John Herriman, chief executive of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: “This staggering number is only those cases reported by the public, while no doubt many more instances go unreported.
“Sometimes people will be reluctant to admit they have been a victim because somehow they may feel embarrassed, like they should have known…