The scam text, claiming to be from the Government, requests people pay a fine for leaving home. It comes as the UK has been on lockdown for a month, with the public only allowed to go out for essential reasons.
The message says: “We would like to inform you that you have been recorded as leaving your home on three occasions yesterday.
“A fine of £35 has ben added to your gov.uk account.”
The fake text includes a link to a website for further information.
It is the latest in a series of sick scams related to the coronavirus crisis.
The National Trading Standards (NTS) has warned the public to “be on their guard”.
They said scammers are targeting people – particularly the elderly and vulnerable – on their doorstep, online and by telephone.
NTS chair Lord Toby Harris said: “At a time when neighbourhoods and communities are coming together to support each other, it is despicable that heartless criminals are exploiting members of the public – including some of our most vulnerable citizens – to line their own pockets.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) warned the pandemic has led to a spike in scams.
CTSI lead officer Katherine Hart said: “I am continually astounded at the scale of new scam activity in the UK since the pandemic hit.
“Never have I seen such a gigantic surge in activity targeting UK consumers.
“CTSI and our partners in the UK consumer protection landscape have been working hard to educate and warn the public about these emerging threats, and we are confident that it is making a difference.
“We have seen so much heroism and good nature displayed during these testing times; however, we are reminded that there are always those ready to pounce upon others’ misery.
“The public must remain extra vigilant at this unprecedented time, and remain extremely cautious.
“If we all take five minutes to think and remember that anything which sounds too good to be true, probably is, then we can minimise the impact of this criminal activity on the public.”
Published at Thu, 23 Apr 2020 06:57:00 +0000