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Fraudsters now targeting families with fake ‘Department for Education’ emails

PUBLISHED: 10:21 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:03 24 March 2020

Fraudsters are now posing as the Department for Education to exploit the coronavirus crisis Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Fraudsters are now posing as the Department for Education to exploit the coronavirus crisis Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Nicolas Herrbach

Fraudsters are now posing as the Department for Education (DfE) in an attempt to obtain bank details as they continue to look for ways to exploit the coronavirus outbreak.

Suffolk Trading Standards has warned that parents and carers are being targeted by scammers through fake emails relating to free school meals.

The email typically contains the message: “If your child is entitled to free school meals send your bank details to the school and they will help with funding while the school is closed.”

Trading standards said the email contains fake links for parents to follow if they want to receive the funding.

This is just one of many scams which have been seen since the COVID-19 outbreak, with vulnerable and elderly people a particular target.

Other reports have included conmen taking money from elderly people for shopping and then not returning.

There have also been reports of other fake email scams such as coronavirus tax refunds, fake cures, World Health Organisation impersonation emails and bit coin payments.

MORE: Unscrupulous criminals looking to exploit coronavirus vulnerable warn police

Chief Superintendent Marina Ericson, from Suffolk Constabulary, said: “We are living through unprecedented times, and while we are seeing mostly positive and very helpful community based activity to support the vulnerable, there continues to be a heartless and scheming group of criminals who will look to exploit the current situation for their own needs.

“Scams are likely to come in many different forms – from, for example, calling on people to say they are testing for the virus, to those fraudulently selling protective face masks, or offering to do shopping and taking money.

“The majority of groups are well intentioned and will be working through the voluntary or charity sector and will be very happy to provide you with proof as to who they are.

“The message is simple, if you have any doubts about the honesty of the person or offer of help, we urge you not to engage further – put the phone down or shut the door and report suspicious behaviour.”

MORE: These are the coronavirus scams to watch out for in Suffolk

Any reports of fraud can be reported to Suffolk Constabulary on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or Suffolk Trading Standards on 0808 223 1133.

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