Scammers are attempting to fleece people entitled to free school meals, the government has warned.
Posting on Twitter, the Department for Education said a number of parents had received scam emails, promising to provide financial support to those whose children are on free meals while schools are closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
They said the fake email reads:
“As schools will be closing, if you’re entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we’ll make sure you’re supported”.
With all schools closing last Friday to deal with the spread of the virus, other than to the children of key workers, many parents who previously relied on the government to provide their children with free lunches will be left wondering how to cope.
The government has said it is considering plans such as providing supermarket vouchers to deliver continued support for those eligible, but scammers have jumped on this opportunity to swindle the vulnerable.
Meanwhile, other coronavirus rackets have been exposed. Some opportunists are selling counterfeit face masks and hand gels, while other fraudsters are cold-calling elderly people, claiming to be representatives from health authorities carrying out tests.
Similarly, coronavirus fake news has been circulating online. While some have claimed there are riots in London due to the pandemic, others have misinterpreted studies to claim the virus is “man made”.
Responding to the free school meal scam, the government said: “This is a scam email – do not respond, and delete immediately.”