Coronavirus fraud: UK victims lose £800,000 to scams

6 March 2020

Fraudsters have stolen over £800,000 from UK victims new data shows


Victims across the UK have lost over £800,000 to coronavirus-linked scams over the last month alone, new data from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has found. 

Since February, 21 reports of fraud where coronavirus was mentioned were reported to the Bureau. 

Ten of the 21 reports were made by victims who attempted to purchase protective face masks from fraudulent sellers. 

One victim reported losing over £15,000 when they purchased face masks that were never delivered. 

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has received multiple reports about coronavirus-related phishing emails attempting to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing personal or financial information. 

Fraudsters are also contacting people via email and posing as officials from research organisations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organisation. 

They claim to be able to provide a list of coronavirus infected people in their area. To access the list the recipient must lick on a link which leads to a malicious website, or is asked to make a payment in Bitcoin.

The number of coronavirus fraud cases is expected to rise as the virus continues to spread globally. 

How to protect yourself from scams

While scammers are trying to capitalise on fears surrounding coronavirus, there a number tactics you can use to protect yourself. 

Here are three ways to avoid being scammed:

1) Be vigilant

Be cautious of calls, emails and messages you receive out of the blue. Never respond to unsolicited or unexpected contact, especially if the call tries to pressure you into making a payment or handing over personal or financial information.

It's vital not to click the links or attachments of suspicious emails either. 

2) Think before you buy

If you're buying from a company or person you don't know and trust, do some research beforehand.

A quick search online can help you identify if a seller is legitimate. You could also ask someone close to you for help and advice if you're still unsure. 

3) Protect your devices

It's important to install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from new threats.

You can do this by checking the security settings on your phone. It will let you know if your device software is up to date. 





No way I'm going to lick anything!

To lick on a link, particularly at the present time, seems reckless!!!

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