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Man wearing mask holding phone; image used for HSBC Sri Lanka Coronavirus Scams page

Coronavirus themed scams

Some fraudsters are trying to exploit the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity for financial crime by posing as trusted organisations like banks and even the World Health Organisation.

What is a scam?

A scam is a term used to describe any fraudulent business or scheme that takes money or other goods from an unsuspecting person. A scam occurs when someone gains your trust in order to steal your information or money. Scammers can use sophisticated lies to trick you into believing them. With the world becoming more connected, online scams have increased, and it's often up to you to help stay cautious with people on the Internet.

COVID-19 related scams

Some fraudsters are trying to exploit the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity for financial crime by posing as trusted organisations like banks and even the World Health Organisation.

1.COVID-19 information related scams

  • SMS /WhatsApp messages offering tests for COVID-19 or information on how to protect yourself. These are the kinds of SMS messages often provide links to: Find out more about symptoms of the virus and/or where to get tested in your area.
  • Obtain more information on current restrictions
  • Learn more about how to protect yourself against the virus.
  • These messages often appear to come from "GOV" government or WHO.
  • You should NEVER click on links in SMS or WhatsApp messages from an unknown or unreliable source or links shared in groups as these links are likely to be malicious.

2.COVID-19 relief payment and donation related scams

  • The email may offer a sum of money as a "COVID-19 assistance" payment if you complete an attached application form.
  • Opening the attachment may download malicious software onto your device which can give the scammer ongoing access to your device and the ability to steal your personal and/or financial information.
  • E-mails, WhatsApp links, SMS links will appear asking for donations for hospitals, COVID impacted individuals or families using government and popular organisations to trick you.
  • Verify the links or messages with the respective organisation before donating.

Click here to learn more on other local and international scams

At HSBC we will never:

  • Phone and ask for your PIN or password to be provided verbally or by email.
  • Ask you to download any software or remotely access your computer.
  • Ask you to transfer money into another 'safe' account in your name – even if we suspect fraud.
  • Ask you to withdraw or deposit money
  • Send someone to your home to collect cash, your PIN or cards or cheque books.
  • Ask you to deposit money when recruiting staff and we don't carry out any 3rd party recruitments.

What do you do if you suspect a scam or fraud?

If you are concerned about fraud on your account, credit card, online banking or if you feel like your credentials are compromised, you may have been the victim of a cybercrime, immediately contact us on our 24-hour Customer Service Hotline +94 11 447 2200 or visit an HSBC branch nearest to you.

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