Coronavirus scam costs victims over £800k in one month
New alert following identification of reports received by Action Fraud.
Since February 2020, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has identified 21 reports of fraud where Coronavirus was mentioned, with victim losses totaling over £800k.
Of the 21 reports, ten were made by victims that attempted to purchase protective face masks from fraudulent sellers. One victim reported losing over £15k when they purchased face masks that were never delivered.
We have also received multiple reports about coronavirus-themed phishing emails attempting to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial information.
One common tactic used by fraudsters is to contact potential victims over email purporting to be from research organisation’s affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
They claim to be able to provide the recipient with a list of coronavirus infected people in their area. In order to access this information, the victim needs to click on a link, which leads to a malicious website, or is asked to make a payment in Bitcoin.
Reporting numbers are expected to rise as the virus continues to spread across the world.
Watch out for scam messages:
Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.
If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.
For more information on how to shop online safely, please visit: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/shoponlinesafely
Protect your devices from the latest threats:
Always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats. For information on how to update your devices, please visit: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/securing-your-devices
Coronavirus (COVID-19) information: how to stay safe
ActionFraud is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.
We provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and cyber crime.
The easiest way to report fraud and cyber crime is by using our online reporting tool.Report
Latest News from
Action Fraud launches new campaign to fight back against fraud this Christmas24/11/2020 13:20:00
Action Fraud launch #FraudFreeXmas campaign with stark warning about online shopping fraud.
Self Assessment customers warned about scammers posing as HMRC19/11/2020 13:20:00
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) recently (17 November 2020) warned people filing Self Assessment tax returns against falling victim to criminal scams.
Action Fraud warns of rise in investment fraud reports as nation enters second lockdown10/11/2020 16:20:00
Action Fraud is informing the public of how to protect themselves from investment fraud, after reports spiked following the first national lockdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Fake PayPal emails lead to nearly £8 million in losses this year05/11/2020 16:20:00
Action Fraud is warning people selling items online to be on the lookout for criminals sending fake PayPal emails.
Police repatriate romance fraud victims with £115,000 through international partnership with Ghanaian authorities29/10/2020 16:20:00
Police forces across the country have been working together to tackle romance fraud, through a combination of awareness raising and enforcement activity, co-ordinated by the City of London Police.
Watchdog warns charities and the public to protect themselves against fraudsters amid pandemic20/10/2020 16:20:00
The Charity Commission is warning trustees and donors to strengthen defences as it fears the pandemic has created environments that are enabling charity fraud.
HMRC urges universities to warn new students of tax scams danger06/10/2020 13:20:00
HMRC has written to universities, through Universities UK, asking them to help ensure their students know how to spot a scam.
Bank branch staff and police team up to stop £19 million of fraud in first half of 202011/09/2020 13:25:00
Bank branch staff worked with the police to stop £19 million of fraud in the first half of 2020 through the Banking Protocol.