Warnings over coronavirus scams which cost victims more than £800k in one month

More than 20 cases of fraud relating to coronavirus have cost victims over £800,000 in the last month alone, it has been revealed.

By Jonathan Pritchard
Saturday, 7th March 2020, 7:55 am
Updated Saturday, 7th March 2020, 7:56 am

In the wake of a second person dying in the UK after testing positive for the virus, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) released information over the scams.

It said since February, it has had 21 cases of fraud reporter where coronavirus was mentioned. Of those reports, 10 were made by victims that attempted to purchase protective face masks from fraudulent sellers. One victim reported losing over £15,000 when they purchased face masks that were never delivered.

A statement from the NFIB said: "We have also received multiple reports about coronavirus-themed phishing emails attempting to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial information.

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One of the scams has seen a victim lose 15,000 when paying for protective face masks which never arrived. Credit: Action Fraud

"One common tactic used by fraudsters is to contact potential victims over email purporting to be from research organisation’s affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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UK coronavirus cases rise to 160 in largest day-on-day increase

"Reporting numbers are expected to rise as the virus continues to spread across the world."

The news comes as reports of coronavirus in the UK continue to rise.

As of 9am on Friday, 163 people had tested positive for Covid-19 - up from 115 cases reported at the same time on Thursday. Northern Ireland then confirmed its fourth case later on Friday, bringing the total to 164.

Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust confirmed on Friday night that a man in his early 80s died shortly after testing positive for coronavirus.

In a statement, the trust said: "His family has been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at what is undoubtedly a difficult and distressing time.

"The hospital continues to work with Public Health England to isolate any patients or staff who had contact with the patient."

The trust said all services and appointments at the hospital were "running normally" and that it was following advice to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said work was already under way to establish who the man had come into contact with.

He said: "I offer my sincere condolences to their family and friends and ask that their request for privacy is respected.

"The patient, who was being treated at the Milton Keynes University Hospital, was an older patient who had underlying health conditions. Contact tracing is already under way."

On Thursday evening another patient, reported to be a woman in her 70s, became the first person in the UK to die after being diagnosed with Covid-19 while at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

Last week, a British tourist who had been on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined in Japan, became the first UK citizen to die after testing positive for the virus.