CIFSA Update 25 March 2020
- HMRC warns against coronavirus email scam
- Coronavirus-related fraud scams are on the rise as UK losses near £1m
- The first Covid-19 related scam report was made on February 9, with an additional 105 reports being received to date.
- UK taxpayers facing millions of HMRC scams
- £197m was lost in investment scams last year in the UK: FCA
We have already seen fraudsters using the Covid-19 pandemic to scam people looking to buy medical supplies online. The majority of reports were of online shopping scams where people ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser, and other products that have never arrived. We recommend that you only buy medical supplies from a trusted source such as a local pharmacy.
Action Fraud, www.actionfraud.police.uk which has a reporting hotline, has received more than 100 reports of coronavirus-themed phishing emails, which trick recipients into opening malicious attachments allowing the theft of their personal information or financial details. These new phishing emails are in addition to the regular’s such as ticket fraud, romance fraud, charity fraud and lender loan fraud.
One common tactic used by fraudsters is to contact potential victims over email purporting to be from research organisation’s affiliated with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Graeme Biggar, the director general of the National Economic Crime Centre, said: “We have already seen fraudsters using the Covid-19 pandemic to scam people looking to buy medical supplies online, sending emails offering fake medical support and targeting people who may be vulnerable or increasingly isolated at home. These frauds try to lure you in with offers that look too good to be true, such as high return investments and ‘healthcare opportunities’, or appeals for you to support those who are ill or bogus charities.”
Think very carefully before you respond to any emails from an unknown source or ask you to hand over your money, and don’t give out your personal details to anyone, unless you are sure who you are dealing with. If you suspect you have received a fraudulent or suspicious email report it to Action fraud. www.actionfraud.police.uk