Coronavirus scams and Financial Abuse

Well, it’s a really weird time, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I’m getting ‘start of a horror film’ vibes. I know I’m probably supposed to be more optimistic than that here – but things seem to be falling apart.

In fact, was supposed to have my driving test today. It’s been on my mind for months and I’m super ready. Guess what? Got cancelled, didn’t it! It’s so disappointing. Then there’s my holiday to Texas- cancelled. I’m not even sure I’ll get all my money back. It’s scary out there.

People are coming together

We’re all supposed to be self-isolating or in quarantine (apart from school children – go figure!) so a lot of us are stuck inside and scared.

And some of us are more vulnerable than others when it comes to this virus. If you can’t leave your home, you may find yourself with no food, no medicine and incredibly lonely very quickly.

Our best mate in our neighbourhood is 83. We dropped a note into her flat a few days ago offering to go shopping as we didn’t want her leaving unnecessarily.

https://twitter.com/lottyburns/status/1238554934280404993

She called us the next day, scared, unwell (not Coronavirus we think) and running out of food.

So a plea as you’re reading this. If there are neighbours out there that are particularly vulnerable – please reach out and try and look after them.

Local Whatsapp and Facebook I groups

I got home from the dentist yesterday (having a badly-timed tooth drama, of course!) and had a note put through the door.

A neighbour (I’ve never met them) had set up a street Whatsapp group so we can help each other out throughout this crisis.

It’s lovely too. There’ about 60 of us in there – mostly strangers – offering to pick things up from the shop, games, painkillers etc. I suppose it’s what they call the ‘Blitz Spirit’.

I really do recommend you set one up in your street if no-one has reached out yet. We don’t know where we’ll be in the next few weeks/months – so building these relationships, could be really important.

My local MP set up a Facebook group for the local area too. Again, a place to post useful information and help each other out.

Have a search on Facebook to see what you can join in your area.

Scammers are out there

Here’s where I get grumpy. As much as there are wonderful, helpful people out there – there are scumbags too, willing to take advantage of the situation.

I promise you, and I’ve seen this time and time again, the scammers are going to come out and start robbing the vulnerable. And most of us are going to become vulnerable over the next few months.

I’ve already seen them scamming people selling face masks etc for a load of money, which people then don’t ever receive, but also now “banks” are calling up needing banking information (see the tweet above). Be super careful.

Here’s a nice little article on avoiding getting scammed during the Coronavirus from Good Housekeeping.

There’s also the issue of Financial Abuse. When you’re vulnerable, and going to need to rely on others to sort things out for you – especially your money, be really careful you’re not being taken advantage of.

Financial abuse can take many forms and can come from all types of people – Family members, your partner, friends – as well as strangers you may be let into your life, thanks to the Coronavirus crisis.

Be careful about handing over personal details, or too much cash. If you are feeling pressured into making decisions by someone, please get help. They aren’t going to stop until they have everything from you. It could go on for years.

If you’re not sure if it’s happening to you – feel free to contact me. I’m happy to hear what’s happening to you and I’ll give you my two cents – judgement free!

It’s not all doom and gloom

Reaching out and helping each other is so important. Though you just need to remember there are bad people in the world. Stay smart and stay safe.

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