Here’s a roundup of the latest scams circulating in the UK. If you’re reading this blog from another country the specifics of these scams won’t apply but lessons can still be learnt. Scam messages will differ but the underlying dynamics are always the same – to scam you out of your money.

Covid testing scams

With recent changes to the Covid testing rules, fraudsters are impersonating the NHS in a series of constantly evolving scam text messages.

From April, the majority of people living in England need to pay for lateral flow tests, unless you meet certain criteria. In Scotland, some free testing will continue until Monday 18 April. In Wales, free PCR tests ended in March, but free lateral flow tests will be available until June. No changes to Covid testing have been confirmed for Northern Ireland yet.
  • Unsurprisingly, scammers are taking the opportunity to capitalise on the Covid testing changes by sending text messages asking you to order a test and pay a delivery fee.
  • There are many variations on this scam with slightly different wording and web addresses, the premise remains the same, it says you need to order a Covid test and includes a dodgy link to a fake NHS website.
  • You’re asked to enter your personal banking details to pay a delivery fee of between £1 to £2. This isn’t a lot so it could easily fool people. But it’s a common tactic used by scammers. Further down the line they will attempt to access larger amounts.
  • The copycat NHS website looks seemingly legit, but scammers can be skilled at copying the branding, style and format of genuine websites. However, the big giveaway is the web address itself, which isn’t the real NHS website.
‘Free’ gym membership for David Lloyd Clubs and PureGym

As prices rise and people look to cut costs where they can emails offering free gym memberships many be particularly enticing.

But the emails, claiming to be from, David Lloyd Clubs and PureGym, are fake and are one more scamming attempt. The emails lead to fake websites designed to scoop up sensitive data.
  • The emails are from the same scammer source, they both tell the recipient they been chose to enter a raffle for one-year free gym membership. In order to ‘participate’ in the ‘raffle’ the recipient has to enter their personal details, which of course are culled for fraudulent purposes.
Keto diet pills

For those looking to lose weight what can be a better idea than taking diet pills, or in this particular scam, Keto diet pills.

A trail of deceptive adverts for keto diet pills falsely imply they’re endorsed by Mumset, Dragons’ Den and TV presenter Holly Willoughby, have been discovered.

The ads are all over the internet posted via search engines, online news outlets and various social media platforms making fake celebrity endorsement claims.

It’s clear that the public is targeted at every turn whether on social media pages inferring legitimate endorsement, multiple online news outlets hosting misleading adverts, or search engines giving ad space to promoters that facilitate these scams.

While, in the greater scheme of things, ads that claim false endorsement may not seem the greatest of sins, they indicate a level of dishonesty that can be taken further.
  • In some cases payment has been take for Keto pills from those responding to ‘celebrity endorsed’ ads and then additional card payments have also been taken without permission. Customers have then been refused refunds and the website subsequently disappears.