BERKSHIRE residents have been urged to be extra wary of cold callers, suspicious messages and rogue traders recently, as new scams have started to emerge during the lockdown.

The warning comes after a total of £4.6 million was reportedly lost to scammers during the first lockdown, alongside a nearly 50 per cent increase in cold calls compared to the same time the year before.

Following this, here are five news coronavirus scams you need to be aware of, and know when to avoid:

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1. Text scams

More than 275 coronavirus-related scams have been detected during lockdown. Any text that asks for bank card details to claim government grants are frauds and should immediately deleted.

HMRC will never offer a tax refund by text.

There have also been reports of messages asking for payment to receive a vaccination - these are all fakes.

The key things to look out for are grammar and spelling errors - these are telltale signs that an offer is not genuine.

2. Telephone scams

HMRC has responded to more than 300,000 reports of telephone scams, usually with the scammer pretending to be a bank, mortgage provider or utility company.

If you get a suspicious call, do not share any financial or personal information and hang up immediately. If you have any concerns regarding a call, contact your provider to check.

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Telephone scam

Telephone scam

3. Email scams

Over 11,000 people believe they have fallen for a 'phishing' email scam during the lockdown, which often seek personal or financial information. Avoid clicking on links as they might contain viruses or take you to a fake website. You should also keep your browser fully updated as you may receive an alert if you visit a fake website.

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4. Social Media scams

Scams on Facebook and other social media platforms can accidentally be shared by a friend or family member which might make you think they are safe. Avoid adverts or posts for schemes which offer high-reward and low-risk finances. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

5. Rogue Traders

Unqualified individuals may pretend to be tradespeople and their work can lead to unsafe heating systems and expensive repair costs.

Always check for the right accreditation - for gas technicians check they have GasSafe accreditation and for heating oil/solid oil experts check they are qualified with OFTEC.