Employees' Help

Employees’ Help

If you are on a fixed-term contract and you’ve been furloughed, your employer is allowed to renew or extend your contract. However, your employer must do this WHILE your contract is still running, ie, it can’t be extended once your contract has ended (so any renewal must come before the contract’s natural conclusion).
Can I be rehired by an employer if my fixed-term contract’s already ended?
The answer will be yes for some, no for others.
If your contract ended after 28 February 2020 and your old employer had submitted a Real Time Information (RTI) about you (ie, you were ‘on the payroll’) on or before 28 February, you CAN be rehired and furloughed. Similarly, if your contract ended after 19 March 2020 and your old employer had submitted an RTI about you on or before 19 March 2020, then you can also be rehired and furloughed.
However, you won’t be able to be rehired and furloughed if your fixed-term contract ended before 28 February 2020, or if you started and ended the same contract between 28 February and 19 March 2020.
Note. The furlough scheme closed to new entrants (ie, employees who haven’t previously been furloughed) on 10 June 2020. Can I be paid less than the minimum wage on furlough?
Yes. The national minimum wage or national living wage only applies when you are working or doing training that your employer requires you to do.
Furloughed workers who, by definition, aren’t working can be furloughed at 80% of their normal wage, even if that takes their wages below the relevant minimum wage. Can I be furloughed if I’m not a UK national?
Yes. The guidance says: “Foreign nationals are eligible to be furloughed. Grants under the scheme are not counted as ‘access to public funds’, and you can furlough employees on all categories of visa.”
If your employer’s told you you can’t be furloughed because you’re a foreign national, show them the relevant Government guidance .
Note. The furlough scheme closed to new entrants (ie, employees who haven’t previously been furloughed) on 10 June 2020. If furloughed, can my employer pay me less than 80% of my wage?
If you’ve been furloughed by your employer, then it MUST pay you the FULL 80% of your wage up to the maximum of £2,500/month (if 80% of your salary is more than that) – it can’t pay you any less.
If your employer does try to pay you less than 80% of your normal wage, or it asks you to carry on working while being furloughed (though you can be asked to go for training), speak to your employer and politely remind it of the rules.
Failing this, you can anonymously report your employer to HMRC’s fraud department online. However, it may simply be a case of your employer being unaware of the rules. Does furlough affect my childcare entitlements?
No, being furloughed – or any other form of coronavirus-related disruption to your income – shouldn’t affect your normal entitlement to childcare.
For those in England , all three and four year-olds get some free childcare, and for many working parents this can be worth up to 30 hours a week. Separately, parents of children up to 11 years old (17 if they’ve a disability) can also apply for tax-free childcare, worth up to £2,000 per child, per year.
Both are dependent on you (and your partner, if you have one) earning a minimum income equivalent to 16 hours a week at the national minimum wage. But new rules introduced by the Government mean if you’re temporarily earning less because of coronavirus, but would normally earn enough to qualify, you’ll still be able to get free childcare and tax-free childcare as normal.
For critical workers who are now earning above the maximum income threshold because they’re working overtime due to coronavirus, they will also remain eligible for both schemes.
What if I live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland?
The new measure also applies if you’re applying for tax-free childcare and you’re in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
However, free childcare is a devolved issue, and the number of hours of free childcare you can get varies depending on which country you live in. We’re checking to see whether the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments have introduced similar coronavirus-related measures regarding free childcare.
For more information about childcare and what’s on offer, see our Tax-Free Childcare guide. Will my maternity pay be affected if I’ve been furloughed?
In simple terms, probably not. New rules which kicked in on 25 April 2020 mean that if you’re due to go on maternity leave, your rights to statutory maternity pay (SMP) or maternity allowance (MA) shouldn’t be affected if your company is furloughing staff.
Eligibility for SMP or MA, and the amount you receive, is normally dependent on your average earnings, meaning employees furloughed at only 80% of their wage were initially at risk of being adversely affected.
However, new rules have been introduced, meaning that any qualifying employee going on maternity leave on or after 25 April 2020 (including if you’re still working but have applied for maternity leave) will get their SMP or MA based on 100% of their salary rather than 80%, which would have been their furlough pay.
For SMP, this means you will still get 90% of your FULL pay for the first six weeks – and not 90% of 80% furloughed pay.
However, if you went on maternity leave before 25 April 2020 and you’ve been furloughed on less than 100% pay, this may affect how much maternity pay you receive.
Note. This only refers to your statutory entitlements. Some employers offer much more generous maternity benefits – if your employer if struggling and furloughing staff, speak to them to see how that might affect any enhanced maternity benefits they’re offering.
Get Our Free Money Tips Email! For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes – join the 12m who get it. Don’t miss out FAQs Privacy Policy Past Emails Unsubscribe On furlough? Your employer CAN make you take annual leave – but you’re owed your full holiday pay for those days
We’ve heard from lots of MoneySavers whose employers have told them they need to take a certain amount of annual leave during furlough – with some unhappy that their leave entitlement will be reduced when they return to work.
According to the Government and employment body ACAS, your employer CAN require you to take annual leave while you’re furloughed.
Yet crucially it’ll need to give you notice, generally of at least twice the amount of time you’re being asked to take as leave. So if your employer says you need to take a week’s leave, it has to tell you at least two weeks before (unless your contract specifies a different notice period).
Your employer should also speak to you and explain why it needs you to take the leave, and should consider whether you’ll be able to use your leave for relaxation. If you won’t, for example if you’re caring for a vulnerable family member, or you’re ill, then you should be able to challenge your employer. We’ve more information on what to do if your employer challenges this back in the dropdown question below.
Vitally, both the Government and ACAS say that while you’re on annual leave, you’ll need to be paid your FULL holiday pay. If your usual holiday pay would be worth more than your wage during furlough – for example, if you’re only receiving 80% of your usual salary while you’re furloughed – your employer will need to top up your wages so that you’re receiving your usual holiday pay for the period you’re on annual leave.
There’s full guidance on using annual leave while on furlough on the ACAS website – show this to your employer if it’s not following the rules, plus see the help below. My employer’s not following the rules – what can I do? If your employer has asked you to take leave while you’re furloughed, but hasn’t given you the correct notice or hasn’t taken into account that you won’t be able to use the leave for relaxation, you should first gather your evidence and start a conversation with your manager. Ruby Dinsmore, employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: “If, as an employee, you are facing adverse situations during Covid-19, such as caring for a vulnerable family member or self-isolating and would not be able to benefit from the fundamental purpose of taking a break, then you would be within your rights to dispute a request to take holiday. “You should however discuss this with your employer and provide them with reasonable proof that you are self-isolating, sick or that you are looking after a family member who is ill. If you also feel the request is unfair or has not been implemented in the correct way, for example, by not receiving enough notice, raise your concerns with your manager and see if you can agree a way forward. “If you feel uncomfortable approaching your manager or are struggling to come to an agreement , it is advised to speak with HR, and if no agreement is reached, consider raising a formal complaint . When raising any issue with your employer, it is important that you keep a record of the problems that you are facing in relation to the issue, whether in work or in your personal life, and provide proof where possible to your employer to support your claim.” Gig worker, zero hours, freelance or agency? Many were eligible for furlough Note. The furlough scheme closed to new entrants (ie, employees who haven’t previously been furloughed) on 10 June 2020. We’ve left this info here as a reference for employees and employers. If you work in the ‘gig’ economy – for example, you freelance, you work through an agency or are on a ‘zero-hours’ contract – it’s important to check whether you’re eligible to be furloughed. Unsure? Just check how you’re taxed. If you’re taxed through PAYE, then you’re considered as an employee, so you should have the same rights as an employee – read more about what those are above . If you are taxed through PAYE, then one of your rights is that you’re eligible for furlough (the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme). You’ll need to discuss furlough with your employer, or the relevant agency or umbrella company where applicable. If you are put on furlough, you won’t be able to do any work for them or on their behalf until the furlough ends.
The amount the Government will pay will be 70% of your usual pre-tax monthly salary, up to £2,190/month, as it was on 28 February 2020 (if you earn fees, commission or bonuses on top of your usual salary, this won’t be included). Your employer must then top up your salary to at least 80% of your normal wage, capped at £2,500/mth.
If your pay varies from month to month – for example, because you’re employed on a ‘zero-hours’ contract – the 80% will be calculated based on the higher of: Your earnings in the same month of the previous year. OR your average monthly earnings from the 2019/20 tax year.
If you’ve worked for your employer for less than a year, it’ll be calculated based on your average monthly earnings while you’ve worked there. If you are self-employed (therefore taxed through self-assessment and not PAYE), you won’t be eligible to be furloughed, but you may be eligible for the support being offered to the self-employed , or be able to claim benefits . For more info, see Martin’s video below on zero-hours workers. Embedded YouTube Video Supply teachers can be furloughed on their CORE salary
Note. The furlough scheme closed to new entrants (ie, employees who haven’t previously been furloughed) on 10 June 2020. We’ve left this information here for supply teachers who are on furlough, but who are still getting furlough wages that don’t include their bonus payments.
In normal times, supply teachers working for agencies and umbrella companies in England and Wales (it doesn’t work this way in Scotland or Northern Ireland) often have their pay structured as ‘minimum wage plus discretionary bonuses’. This is done to allow continuity of employment, but different pay rates depending on the job that is being done.
However, this structure causes a problem under the furloughing rules . Discretionary bonuses are not included in furlough pay, so many umbrella agencies (not all – I’ve heard reports of some who simply aren’t contacting staff, and some who have always paid the full amount) who are furloughing teachers are basing the 80% of salary when furloughing on just the minimum wage – meaning very low incomes.
Yet, HMRC did change its guidance – you can see it in situ on the Government’s ‘Work out 80% of your employees’ wages’ page. The key paragraphs are:
“When you’re working out if a payment is non-discretionary, only include payments which you have a contractual obligation to pay and to which your employee had an enforceable right.
“When variable payments are specified in a contract and those payments are always made, then those payments may become non-discretionary. If that is the case, they should be included when calculating 80% of your employees wages.”
This hopefully clears up the big issue for supply teachers in England and Wales. Now, we hope all firms are furloughing at the right amounts.
Quick questions Can bonus payments under furlough be backdated?
We’ve checked, and sadly past furlough pay can’t currently be backdated (though HMRC tells us it’s working on changing this). But as firms are currently applying for the money for May’s payrolls, they are allowed to adjust the amount for that. And of course with the furlough scheme being extended to October, this is very important going forward. How should supply teachers use this information?
The agencies’ nervousness will have come from the fact that while they can claim for the higher amount to be paid to furlough staff, it is later subject to an audit if it was done incorrectly, so they will want comfort that they’re doing the right thing based on their salaries. The new guidance should hopefully give them the confidence to go ahead and furlough the higher amount. So it’s worth asking them again in light of this (and having the guidance to hand).
But ultimately furloughing isn’t compulsory, it’s up to the firm. Yet even if we ignore the fact it’s the right thing to do, rather than leaving employees with no income – there is an argument that treating supply teachers (ie, their product) well is, over the long run, good for business once we start to move back to normal. That’s an argument teachers may want to politely use.
Note. The above applies to supply teachers in England and Wales.
In Scotland, supply teachers on temporary fixed-term assignments/contracts will suffer no detriment in regards to pay, whereas those on short-term assignments between 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2020 will have their pay based on an average over the three-month period.
In Northern Ireland, supply teachers are directly employed by the Department for Education, which has agreed to keep paying its substitute teachers separately to the CJRS. A message from Martin to the up to three million EXCLUDED from support Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “When the Chancellor’s financial support schemes first came out, they were rightly lauded for protecting millions of people’s jobs and incomes in this unprecedented health and economic catastrophe. At the time, I said in one interview I’d give it an A-grade, but what’d really count is how they’d help those who’d fallen through the cracks. “Yet whether it’s new starter furlough or self-employed support, freelance PAYE, limited company directors, dental nurses, shielders whose firms won’t furlough and many more – those cracks are now fissures, with up to three million people desperate, without help or support. And so that grade has degraded. “All my attempts to be allocated a journalistic question at the Downing Street press conferences about this have been turned down, so thank you to Andrew Marr who raised it, in my name, with the Chancellor on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show .
“Listening to it will not make many hopeful. And indeed if you’re in this situation, while you can hope for the best, it’s best to plan for the worst. There’s a new group, Excluded UK , set up as a community interest company by three people to try and give a voice to those missing out. It’s early days, but at least it means there’s a voice being heard, aiming to raise awareness.”
Andrew Marr discusses the excluded with Chancellor Rishi Sunak on 14 June 2020. Content shared courtesy of The Andrew Marr Show / BBC. Embedded YouTube Video You can get statutory sick pay from day one If you need to take time off work due to becoming unwell from coronavirus, you’ll be entitled to your usual sick leave and sick pay. If you need to self-isolate, including if you’ve been instructed to under the new contact tracing schemes, but don’t have symptoms, you may be able to continue working if you are one of the many employees working from home in-line with Government guidance. But if you’re expected to go into work, you are entitled to statutory sick pay if you’re self-isolating on Government advice (as long as you would usually qualify for it).
Shielding? The rules on statutory sick pay have changed. On Government advice, more than two million clinically vulnerable people in England have been shielding at home throughout the coronavirus outbreak. However, the Government has now said that these shielding employees will be able to return to their work places from 1 August 2020 – provided their work environment is coronavirus-safe.
This means that if you have been shielding on Government advice (it doesn’t apply to those who are actually sick with coronavirus or self-isolating through NHS Test and Trace), you’ll no longer be able to use shielding as a basis for claiming statutory sick pay. The new rules only impact England, but you can read more about the shielding statuses in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in our MSE News story .
How much is statutory sick pay? Statutory sick pay (SSP) currently stands at £95.85 a week. NOTE: Your employer may also offer sick pay which is worth more than the statutory amount if this is outlined in your contract.
How do I qualify? To qualify, you must be employed and earn an average of at least £120 a week to be entitled to it (see full eligibility criteria ).
If you earn under £120/week and you already claim universal credit, log in to your online journal, update your details and your universal credit award should be boosted in line with your drop in earnings. If you’re not already claiming, apply for universal credit and if you need cash urgently, request an ‘advance’ payment.
When can I claim? SSP is paid through your employer, so you must notify them. You can claim from day one of self-isolation – though if your work normally offers more generous sick pay, you may be able to get that.
If you then proceed to develop Covid-19 symptoms – or if you’re unwell with another illness – you can continue to get SSP for 28 weeks.
The Government has confirmed that SSP is now payable from day one, not day four. Here’s what we know so far about the rule change: It applies retrospectively from 13 March 2020. This means you can claim statutory sick pay from day one if you needed to self-isolate from 13 March 2020 onwards. The extension in statutory sick pay relates to those self-isolating due to coronavirus, NOT for any other reason. If you are off sick for any other reason, standard rules apply and statutory sick pay will kick in from day four, not day one. You must be self-isolating for an official reason. These are if you have coronavirus or if you or someone in your household has coronavirus symptoms, or if you’ve been told to self-isolate by a doctor, NHS 111 or under the new contact tracing schemes – England (Test and Trace), Scotland (Test and Protect), Wales (Test, Trace and Protect) and Northern Ireland (Test and Trace), which are all now up and running.
Employers should also be flexible about requiring evidence for sick leave from employees, for example if you’re unable to provide a doctor’s note due to being in self-isolation.
If you’re not unwell or in quarantine, but your employer asks you not to come to work, you should receive your full pay.
For full help on your employment rights during the coronavirus outbreak, see the ACAS website .
Get Our Free Money Tips Email! For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes – join the 12m who get it. Don’t miss out FAQs Privacy Policy Past Emails Unsubscribe Looking after children and your rights at work
While some kids have now been able to return to school and most pre-schoolers are back at nurseries or with childminders, for many parents the issue of having to juggle childcare and work still remains. So here’s what you need to know: By law, employees have the right to take time off work to help someone who depends on them in an unexpected event. However, you DON’T have a legal right to be paid for this time, though some employers may offer paid time off in this situation depending on your contract or your workplace’s policy. There’s no official limit on how much time you’re allowed to take off. It just must be “reasonable” for the situation. The Government hasn’t been able to confirm exactly how much time would be seen as reasonable to take off for school closures – for example, if schools stay shut for several months – but has told us it’s keeping the situation under “active review”. Look at other options, including taking annual leave or unpaid parental leave. If you do need to spend a longer period away from work, you may also be able to book the time off as holiday, or take unpaid parental leave. Parental leave is available for employed parents who have been with their company for more than a year, and is usually limited to four weeks’ leave per year, per child – though it could be extended at your employer’s discretion. It’s important to note that it’s unpaid though. See if flexible working can help. You also have the legal right to ask to work flexibly as long as you’ve worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks, and it must consider your request and deal with it “in a reasonable manner”. This could include asking to change or reduce your hours so you can look after your children.
For all these options, speak to your employer to see what it can offer you – many companies have updated their policies for employees who are parents in light of the school closures.
If you have a question about coronavirus related to schools or other educational establishments, you can call the Department for Education’s coronavirus hotline on 0800 046 8687, which is open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and 10am to 4pm on weekends. Alternatively, you can . Who counts as a key worker (and so can still send kids to school)? While schools are shut for most children across the UK, they are still open for the children of ‘key workers’, and vulnerable children.
If you count as a key worker, you don’t HAVE to keep sending your kids to school if you’re able to make alternative arrangements for them to stay at home – and in fact, the Government says any child who can be safely cared for at home should be. But you can continue to send your child to school if you work in one of the following key sectors: Health and social care. This includes doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, support and specialist staff within the health and social care sector, and staff working within medical supply chains. Education and childcare. This includes teachers, nursery staff, social workers and specialist educational professionals. Key public services. This includes key workers within the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering important front-line services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters providing public service broadcasting. Local and national government. This only includes staff working to deliver the coronavirus response or essential public services such as the payment of benefits. Fo od and other necessary goods. This includes staff involved in the production, processing, distribution, sale or delivery of food or other important goods such as hygienic and veterinary medicines. Public safety and national security. This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractors and armed forces personnel who are critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and the coronavirus response, fire and rescue service workers (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, and border security, prison and probation staff – as well as other national security roles. Transport. This include staff keeping air, water, road and rail systems operating during the coronavirus response – including workers on transport systems facilitating supply chains. Utilities, communication and financial services. This includes staff needed for essential financial services (such as those working in banks), staff in the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors, workers in the IT and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the coronavirus response, key staff working in the civil, nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (such as network operations, call centre staff, 999 and 111 services) and postal services, and in the delivery, payments provider and waste disposal sectors. This isn’t an exhaustive list, and if you think your job falls into one of these categories you should speak to your employer to confirm. Only one parent has to be a key worker in order for you to be able to send your child to school. Schools are also remaining open for vulnerable children, which includes children supported by social care or with safeguarding or welfare needs, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans. If your school is closed anyway but you’re a key worker, then contact your local authority, which can redirect you to another local school for your child to attend. Can parents who are looking after children be furloughed?
Employers CAN furlough those who can’t work due to looking after children. There’s much confusion over this. Employers have discretion to chose to furlough someone via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, but some are wrongly turning down requests thinking they’re not allowed.
Nothing in the guidance prevents furloughing in these cases, yet as employers are nervous, to help Martin tweeted the Chancellor for clarification, and got back an OFFICIAL statement via the Treasury:
“Childcare: Yes, if because of coronavirus closing schools you are unable to work and at risk of redundancy, your employer can furlough you.” Other employee rights during lockdown
While it’s not part of the furlough scheme, there are a few other things that you need to know about your rights as an employee that are relevant to lockdown. The first is around annual leave, and the other’s about a tax break that’s available if you need to work from home during the crisis… You may be able to carry over unused annual leave by up to two years
Normally, businesses need to make sure that their employees take at least the statutory minimum 28 days of annual leave (made up of 20 discretionary days, and time equivalent to the eight UK bank holidays).
However, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy released emergency legislation in March, temporarily allowing businesses to let employees take less than the statutory minimum number of days of leave this year. This is aimed at employers on the front line of coronavirus (like hospitals, supermarkets and pharmacies), to make sure they have enough staff working each day to keep providing the services the country most needs during this crisis.
The alternative would be the employer forcing its employees to take the leave they’re owed because they’re required to do so by law, potentially leaving them short-staffed at a crucial time.
Technically, the legislation allows all employers to let workers carry leave over into the following two years. However, just like the furlough scheme further up this guide, it doesn’t force employers to do it. Your employer will decide whether it wants or needs to be more flexible with its leave policy. If you’ve not heard anything from your employer, ask it if it’s planning to make any changes. Working from home? You can claim tax back on additional home expenses
If your employer requires you to work at home, you can claim for increased costs due to working from home, eg, heating and electricity (one estimate suggests bills are up £30/week). Clearly, right now millions are required to work at home, so this applies.
In practice, apportioning the cost is tough, so instead you can claim a £6/week rate. You can make a claim in two ways: Employers can pay you £6/week extra, free of tax. Yet right now, with many firms struggling, asking may be bad timing, so… If not, you can claim tax relief on £6 of income per week, which for basic 20% taxpayers is £1.20/week (about £60/year), and higher 40% taxpayers £2.40/week (about £120/year). You can apply directly to HMRC for this tax relief – and as long as you’re claiming relief on the equivalent of £6/week for the period you worked from home, you won’t have to provide evidence of the extra spending.
Sounds complicated? Don’t worry, there’s full info on how to claim in Martin’s ‘Working from home due to coronavirus? Claim tax back on extra costs’ blog. You can now be reimbursed for home office equipment without being taxed on it
With huge swathes of the UK’s workforce now working from home, many have had to kit themselves out with office equipment which employers are then reimbursing. Usually, these reimbursements are treated as taxable benefits-in-kind, which means you need to pay both tax and national insurance (NI) on them. But newly-announced regulations mean that this reimbursement – so long as the home-working is solely down to coronavirus –now won’t incur a tax charge.
Reimbursements for kit the employee has bought used to be subject to tax because it enables the employee to perform their duties, but isn’t incurred while performing them. It’s a techy point, but it does matter to HMRC. However, this is temporary, as it’ll only affect reimbursements made up until the end of the 2020/21 tax year (5 April 2021). It also doesn’t apply to workers who normally work from home.
You don’t need to do anything, as it’s down to your employer to sort out the tax on your payroll and expenses. However, if you are claiming expenses for reimbursement of home office kit, it’s worth checking you’ve been paid the full amount, without tax and NI being taken off. If your employer hasn’t done this, you can point them towards the relevant Government legislation . If you are (or may be) made redundant, know your rights
Sadly, many have been laid off as a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Unfortunately, it is likely to be difficult for many to find alternative employment while the shutdown conditions are still on.
If you are (or may be) made redundant, it’s vital to know your rights and to get a survival plan in place. This could include sorting your finances and making a debt audit, and making sure you’re receiving all the help you’re entitled to.
It’s also important to know that being on furlough SHOULDN’T impact your normal statutory redundancy rights (eg, any entitlement to redundancy pay or notice). Our Redundancy Help guide takes you through all this and more, step by step.
It’s also worth using our Benefits Checker to see what you may be entitled to or read our Coronavirus universal credit & benefits guide. Warning – watch out for coronavirus scams
Lowlife scammers are taking advantage of coronavirus to try to defraud people, especially the elderly and vulnerable.
Action Fraud has already identified thousands of reports of fraud relating to coronavirus since February, with victims’ losses totalling more than £5 million. Many of these are online shopping scams where victims have tried to buy products such as protective face masks and hand sanitiser from fraudsters. There have also been over 4,400 reports of coronavirus-themed phishing emails designed to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive information.
A common tactic used by scammers is to send messages purporting to be from research groups linked with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, or the World Health Organisation. Some claim to be able to provide a list of people infected with Covid-19, which links to a malicious website or asks the victim to make a payment in Bitcoin.
Other common phishing emails include those pretending to be from the Government, sending articles about the coronavirus outbreak with links to fake company websites, or sending details of investment schemes which encourage people to take advantage of the coronavirus downturn.
Received a suspicious email? The National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ) has launched its new Suspicious Email Reporting Service to take phishing scams down – all you have to do is forward suspect emails to its email address. Tips to protect yourself against scams
Action Fraud says you can do the following to minimise your chances of being tricked: Be vigilant for scam messages. This includes not clicking on any links or attachments if you receive a suspicious message, and not responding to any unsolicited messages or calls that ask for personal or financial details. Take care when shopping online. You should always do your research if buying from a company or person you don’t know and trust, and possibly ask a friend or family member for advice first. If you do go ahead with an online purchase, you should use a credit card if possible for extra protection (see our Section 75 guide). Protect your devices from threats. This includes always installing the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from new threats.
Also see MSE Katie’s 20+ coronavirus scams to watch out for blog for more of the known coronavirus-related scams out there and tips to protect yourself from fraudsters. Have you been scammed?
If you’ve lost money to fraudsters, you should do the following: Immediately end all communication with them. Contact your bank to tell them you’ve been scammed, and cancel any recurring payments. Report the scam to the police through the Action Fraud website. You can also call it on 0300 123 2040, but be aware it has a reduced phone service at the moment, so waiting times may be longer than usual. If you want one-on-one help, you can contact Citizens Advice Scams Action by phone or online chat.
Looking for other help? This guide has info about how coronavirus affects employees. We also have… – Coronavirus self-employed & small limited co help for the latest on support schemes.
– Coronavirus universal credit & benefits for the latest on universal credit and other help.
– Coronavirus finance & bills help for the latest on mortgages, rent, debts and household bills.
– Coronavirus life in lockdown for the latest on supermarkets, weddings, MOTs etc.
– Coronavirus travel rights for the latest on holidays and refunds.
– Coronavirus financial FAQs for commonly-asked questions and answers.
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