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Last updated: 31 March 2020

As the spread of coronavirus has resulted in major changes and disruption to our daily lives, sadly we've seen a huge increase in the number of scams and cyber crime.

Friends Against Scams has produced a useful list of things to look out for in order to stay safe: 

They are also offering a free online course which you can find at:

Take Five is a national campaign offering impartial advice to help prevent email, phone and online fraud

Cleveland Police's latest newsletter lists a few of the common scams that have surfaced, which have cost victims in the region of £800,000 in just one month: Cyber Crime - Cleveland Police Newsletter

Unsurprisingly, many scams are disguised as communications and services from HMRC. To help raise awareness, HMRC has published a list of examples, with pictures, of recently reported HMRC scams:

Whilst many of these appear to be very convincing, if you look at the 'from' email address or the website address you can see that they are not official domains. HRMC says they will never send notifications by email about tax rebates or refunds. HMRC will never ask for personal or financial information when they send text messages.

If you receive a text scam you can send phishing text messages to 60599 (network charges apply) or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. then delete it.

It has been widely reported that an email scam has circulated claiming to be from the Department of Education offering payment to those who receive free school meals. You can find details about the scam and what the official guidance is at:

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