Hertfordshire scam used fake Covid death to gain £5,000

A man has been arrested in connection of social media accounts being used to scam nearly £5,000 from people in Hertfordshire.

There have been numerous reports from victims around Hertfordshire who claim they were duped into sending money after being emotionally manipulated on social media.

Several accounts on Twitter were asking for donations to help individuals claiming extreme poverty, due to a variety of reasons including the pandemic, a family death and illness.

One of these accounts posed to be a man from Watford who claimed to be struggling after a Covid-19 family death.

Officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit investigated and believe at least 50 people made donations, totalling near £5,000 via the GoFundMe, Just Giving and PayPal sites.

Detective Inspector Rob Burns, from the Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “We have seen a big rise in online fraud since the start of the pandemic but this is something a bit new. Online fraudsters can be very convincing and often employ a range of tactics to get people to part with their money.

“Exploiting people’s sympathy and desire to help is just one method used. You should never pay money to anyone unless you are sure they are legitimate. Many of those who are fooled by fraudsters cannot afford to lose the money and can suffer from serious hardship and emotional distress as a result.”

The man has been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

Hillingdon Times | News