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Thursday, 24 September 2020

Coronavirus fraud: Warning as cases up 400% this month

Across the UK, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has reported a new trend in fraud and cybercrime related to the Coronavirus.

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The Fraud and Cyber Crime Units encourage you all to share these tips on how best to defend yourself from fraudsters.

Across the UK, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has reported a new trend in fraud and cybercrime related to the Coronavirus.

The majority of reports are related to online shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser and other products, which have never arrived.

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Other frauds being reported to include ticket fraud, romance fraud, charity fraud and lender loan fraud.

Fraud and Cyber Protect Officer Fiona Price, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “While Nottinghamshire is yet to see a spike in these types of cases, it is best practice to know how to spot fraudulent activity, particularly when people are self-isolating and may not have regular contact with their friends and family.

“I’d encourage everyone to follow the guidance below as well as make their family members who may not use social media aware of how these criminals are looking to exploit people.”

As well as online shopping scams, the bureau has also received more than 200 reports of Coronavirus themed phishing emails.

The emails attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments which could lead to fraudsters stealing people’s personal information, passwords and banking details.

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Coronavirus Fraud: Some of the tactics being used in emails and text messages include:

Fraudsters purporting to be from a research group that mimic the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organisation. They claim to provide the victim with a list of active infections in their area but to access this information the victim needs to either click on a link which redirects them to a credential-stealing page, or make a donation of support in the form of a payment into a Bitcoin account.


Fraudsters providing articles about the virus outbreak with a link to a fake company website where victims are encouraged to click to subscribe to a daily newsletter for further updates.


Fraudsters sending investment scheme and trading advice encouraging people to take advantage of the coronavirus downturn.


Fraudsters purporting to be from HMRC offering a tax refund and directing victims to a fake website to harvest their personal and financial details. The emails often display the HMRC logo making it look reasonably genuine and convincing.

How to protect yourself:

1) 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.

2) Shopping online – 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

3) 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

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