COVID-19: Protect yourself against scams There is a lot of change happening in society right now. Coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on the world and how we interact with each other. Understandably we're all spending more time online which is keeping us connected but also making us more vulnerable to misinformation. There seems to be an overload of information on our phones and computers. Much of it is from well meaning people sharing their views and trying to give advice on what do to at this uncertain time. However, there are also many scammers using this as an opportunity to prey upon our uncertainty. This means is extra important to keep yourself and your family safe online.Here are our top tips to stay safe online and avoid scammers during this pandemic.1. Do your research Scams today are more sophisticated than ever before. Scammers will appear like a trusted business or government official. They will have a professional website and they’ll say all the right things. Take your time to work out if this is a real organisation. Ask them for ID or contact the organisation on a number you know and trust. If you’re still in doubt, Google the name of the company and ‘scam’, to see if any horror stories come up. 2. Don’t click on unknown links Whether it’s an offer for a coronavirus testing kit or a refund on your holiday, never click on unknown attachments or links. Scammers prey on our health and money worries by sending us links to offers that appear too good to be true. Criminals use links to capture personal information or download viruses onto your devices. Both of which can result in financial or identity fraud. 3. Be suspicious Don’t take anything at face value during this time. Common scams at the moment prey on the fact that we’re more vulnerable than ever. We’re worried about our families, health, money and work. It will take us longer than usual to realise something isn’t right. 4. Never give out personal information or money to anyone you don’t trust Never send money to people you don’t know. Don’t share logins, passwords or bank details with someone you don’t trust. If someone pressures you for money or sensitive information up front it is most likely a scam. 5. Report it And finally, report it. If you’ve been the victim of an online scam contact the Citizens Advice Scams Action service online or over the phone 0808 2505050. If you’ve been scammed out of money, report it to your bank first.For more information on how to stay safe from scams go to www.iwasp.org.uk or visit https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/ to watch a short scam awareness video It’s important we work together to keep our family and friends safe online. Share our top tips with your community to help protect them from frauds and scams. Examples of online coronavirus scams Companies offering fake holiday refunds Virus testing kits or vaccines Overpriced or fake good such as facemasks, hand sanitiser and hard-to-get goods Fake online resources such as sensationalist articles or false coronavirus maps Emails using voluntary action as a hook for people to share their personal details --- We believe everyone is entitled to the information that affects their lives.That’s why our charity has given independent, confidential and free advice to generations of island residents.We want our clients to have the knowledge and the confidence they need to find their way forward - whoever they are, and whatever their problem.In times of crisis, we're here for you. As our offices are currently closed to the public, the best way to contact us is on our Adviceline number: 0800 144 88 48At the moment we are only answering voicemails left on the Adviceline number. This is the most efficient way we can deal with your enquiry. We are currently returning calls usually on the same day, and certainly within 1 working day.What to do when you call Adviceline- Call 0800 144 88 48 and press * to hear the other options, and then press 0. - Please leave your details and a number that we can contact you on.- Someone will reply as soon as they can.* Calls to the Adviceline 03 number cost the same as calling 01/02 numbers & may be included as part of your mobile or landline call package. If you do not have a package, calls from a landline can cost up to 9p per minute. Mobiles may be considerably more expensive.Other ways to contact us - You can also contact us via webform through the Isle Help website- You can also get advice through the national Citizens Advice website where you can access webchat. - If your enquiry is between 5pm to 8am you can leave an email. Enquiries through the national website will be answered by a Generalist Adviser from the national team.