This week’s heat wave has given fraudsters a platform to prey on innocent victims with an array of new scams. With further heat waves potentially on the horizon, here’s some of the scams you need to be aware of:
Simon in South London received a text message on Sunday purporting to be from the NHS. It was headed HEAT-HEALTH WARNING and went on to say ‘There is heat health warning in place for your area. Click here for important advice and instructions you must follow.’ Of course, a link that looked like it would go direct to an NHS webpage was provided.
Simon told me it looked real and that he clicked the link. However, when he clicked the link the page went blank so this arose his suspicions.
Since hearing from Simon, lots more readers have told me about this scam.
Water board message
Candice from Kings Lynn received a text message on Monday which read ‘URGENT MESSAGE FROM THE WATER BOARD PLEASE CLICK HERE.’ Again, a link was then provided. Candice immediately clicked the link as her area had been affected by a burst mains water pipe so she says she had no doubt it was genuine. However, immediately after clicking on the link she realised it was not genuine as the web page she was taken to simply did not look genuine, was full of typos and, more importantly, it was headed ‘Severn Trent Water’, which is not her supplier. She telephoned her supplier, Anglian Water, and it was confirmed that no such text messages had been sent out.
I’ve heard from lots of readers who received text messages and emails Sunday Night about school closures, including one from Abigail in Swansea. She received an email which read: ‘IMPORTANT SCHOOL CLOSURES UPDATE. Please take note, due to the severe heat weather warning in place for the next three days Government has taken the decision to close schools across the country. An up to date list of school closures can be seen by clicking the link below.’ Abigail told me that as the potential for school closures had been widely reported in the media, she did not for one second think this was a scam and therefore promptly clicked the link to see if her daughter’s school was going to be closed. However, there was a list and it immediately became apparent this was not a genuine email.