Coronavirus fraud alert

April 2020

The coronavirus pandemic throws up fresh challenges every day and our priority, always, is to protect our customers’ interests.  Unfortunately, at a time when COVID-19 is bringing out the best in so many, we are aware that others are exploiting the pandemic with a variety of scams.

Many of the online offers now popping up are opportunistic attempts to defraud the public.  You should be particularly wary of retail sites offering items in high demand such as protective masks, gloves and pharmaceutical products for inflated prices.  In many cases, the items ordered never arrive.   

The charity sector has also seen a rise in requests from fraudsters to send money to help individuals or groups affected by COVID-19.  We naturally want to help the vulnerable at this time, but please take care to donate only through familiar, registered charities.

‘Phishing’, the attempt to harvest valuable personal information through malicious emails, is rife.  These emails may urge you to take urgent action, telling you that you have missed a payment or are about to be locked out of your account and ask you to download files or open attachments and hyperlinks that leave you vulnerable to theft.

You can often spot phishing emails by mistakes in spelling or grammar and they are not normally personalised (legitimate companies will address you by name).

Please do not download files or open attachments or hyperlinks sent with suspicious emails.

In addition to phishing, the banking industry has, in recent weeks, seen a marked increase in the following types of fraud: 

  • ‘Vishing’:  this is where the fraudster will try to obtain personal information in the course of a telephone conversation. They may pretend to be a bank or some other reputable organisation, and, increasingly they are posing as charity fund-raisers.
  • ‘Smishing’: this is where the fraud, as described, above, is attempted by means of SMS; the text may purport to be from banks, legitimate companies, or the government requesting personal or banking information.

Please remember that neither C. Hoare & Co. or any other reputable company will ever ask for PIN numbers or other personal banking details over the telephone.

If you think you may have been scammed, please let your relationship manager know immediately.  Our Fraud Prevention team is also happy to talk through any concerns, no matter how small, and can be contacted at

Please be extra-vigilant in these difficult times and stay safe online.