Yes, you guessed it, scammers are making the most of this terrible situation so don’t be fooled.
Members of the public are advised to be vigilant in the face of scams connected to the coronavirus (Covid-19).
These scams could take many forms and might take the form of pensions transfers, high-return investment opportunities or health insurance supplements.
To help protect yourself you should:
- reject offers that come out of the blue
- get the company’s name and establish their credentials using the FCA’s Financial Services Register
- beware of adverts on social media channels and paid for/sponsored adverts online
- do not click links or open emails from senders you don’t already know
- be wary of promised returns that sound too good to be true
- take your time to make all the checks you need, even if this means turning down an ‘amazing deal’
- do not give out personal details (bank details, address, existing insurance/pensions/investment details)
- seek financial guidance or advice before changing your pension arrangements or making investments
There is further advice on the FCA’s ScamSmart website about how to protect yourself and if you suspect you may have been contacted in what could be a scam, you can make a complaint to the Insolvency Service or call Action Fraud straight away on 0300 123 2040.
New Police Powers
The government has today (26 March 2020) made new public health regulations strengthening police enforcement powers in England, to reduce the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.
To ensure people stay at home and avoid non-essential travel, from today, if members of the public do not comply the police may:
- instruct them to go home, leave an area or disperse
- ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking these rules
- issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days
- issue a fixed penalty notice of £120 for second-time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence
Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.
If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary.
However, in the first instance, the police will always apply their common sense and discretion.
From the Government:
Students understandably want reassurance, and teachers urgently need to know what to do, and when. We expect to publish detailed information about the process and timetable which will apply this summer next week. This will include the steps we would like teachers to follow and more detailed guidance on how to consider the full range of evidence they will have available when submitting their assessment grades. We are talking to teaching representatives to make sure that what we are planning is manageable and appropriate so that students, parents, carers and teachers can have confidence in the approach.
We will outline by Easter the process we will follow to make sure grades are fair across schools and colleges, as well as our proposals for appeals. We will also say more as soon as possible about the arrangements for additional exams in the new academic year.
We want to reassure students waiting for news that we are doing everything we can to make sure they are not disadvantaged by these unprecedented circumstances.