Beware scams relating to Covid-19 pandemic
Criminals will use any opportunity they can to take money from innocent people. This includes exploiting tragedies and global emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, to scam people in a variety of ways. The number of these scams are only likely to increase and we need individuals and businesses to be fully aware and prepared.
As more people stay indoors and work from
computers and laptops at home, there is more opportunity for criminals to try
and trick people into parting with their money at a time when they are anxious
and uncertain about the future.
We have already received nearly 400 reports of fraud related to COVID-19, the majority of which are online shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser, and other products, which have never arrived. We have also seen a large amount of phishing emails and texts circulating, that use COVID-19 as a hook, and try to get recipients to click on links or attachments which harvest information and lead to the individual revealing personal or financial details.
Is fraud rising?
While the number of reports of fraud in general is not increasing, we are warning people that the current social situation we find ourselves in could lead to any number of fraud types increasing as this immediate public health crisis unfolds. We are advising people to be particularly vigilant around:
Advice for businesses in
regards to people working from home
Many organisations are either moving to working remotely for the first time or significantly increasing it, and this presents a number of cyber security challenges. Advice on how to respond to those challenges is set out in the NCSC’s working from home guidance.
There are a number of practical steps organisations can take to reduce the risk including:
Some organisations may be allowing staff to use their own devices to work remotely. In this case, please refer to the NCSC’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) guidance.
In addition to following the guidance set out above, it is worth being aware of phishing emails which trick users into clicking on a bad link. Once clicked, the user is sent to a website which could download malware onto your computer, or steal passwords. We know that cyber criminals are opportunistic and will look to take advantage of people’s fears, and there is evidence that the coronavirus outbreak is being exploited in this way.
Those who do fall victim shouldn’t feel bad
– these scams can be extremely convincing – but what they should do as quickly
as possible is report it to their IT department when the incident is
work-related or Action Fraud when it is personal. They can also open their
antivirus (AV) software if installed, and run a full scan, following any
instructions given. If they’ve been tricked into providing password, they
should change their passwords on all their other accounts. The
NCSC’s guidance on suspicious emails provides
more tips on this.
Our Cyber Griffin team have also created a series of short video guides on how to keep you and your family safe while online at home which contain practical hints and tips and cover a range of topics, including passwords, phishing, vishing and multi-factor authentication.
To report a fraud please follow this link: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ Phishing emails can be forwarded to NFIBPhishing@cityoflondon.police.uk or via https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report-phishing