Stop the cybercriminals from cashing in

Criminal activity has risen significantly since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak as thieves target the elderly and vulnerable who are reaching out for help. Also, as more businesses turn to virtual methods to uphold social distancing measures, this unfortunately offers an even greater opportunity for fraudsters to cash in.

In an earlier blog we discussed how fraudsters are taking advantage of the recent pandemic by selling counterfeit face masks and stealing PIN numbers from unwitting self-isolators needing help with their shopping. However, it looks as though criminals are not just acting offline, as cases of cybercrime are on the rise too.

According to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), more than 2,000 online scams have been removed by the NCSC in the last month since the outbreak of the Coronavirus took hold.

Of these online scams captured by the NCSC there were:

  • 471 fake online shops selling fraudulent Coronavirus related items
  • 555 malware distribution sites set up to cause significant damage to any visitors
  • 200 phishing sites seeking personal information such as passwords or credit card details
  • 832 advance-fee frauds where a large sum of money is promised in return for a set-up payment

As part of the NCSC's "Cyber Aware campaign", which launched on 21 April 2020 alongside the "Suspicious Email Reporting Service", the NCSC is encouraging people to take more care as they increasingly rely on technology to continue their day to day lives - both at work and at home.

Whilst it might seem unfathomable that any individual would seek to gain financially from this pandemic, sadly, it means that we must be on our guard more so than ever.

The NCSC hopes that their new Reporting Service will make it easier for people to anonymously report cybercrimes, with some cases even claiming to offer services related to the Coronavirus.

If you are using video conferencing or other technologies for the first time, make sure that you are using strong passwords and that you are always sure that who you are dealing with is legitimate. It is possible for fraudsters to hack into video conferencing calls - so make sure you keep track of who has joined the chat and try to avoid making them publicly accessible.

If you have been affected by fraud or cybercrime, either before or during the Coronavirus outbreak, we can help. Contact us for more information or for more tips on staying safe online, visit the NCSC website.