The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we interact with other people, with most of us spending more time online than ever. Additionally, in times of pandemic, uncertainty and isolation tend to make people more vulnerable. As a result of this, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the new normal and incidents of scams, fraud and phishing has increased. It’s important, therefore, to look out for suspicious activity, such as emails containing malware or phishing scams. Here are some examples of current known scams:
- Fake HMRC emails
- Emails or phone calls claiming that you are entitled to an HMRC goodwill payment or tax refund, with the intent of gathering your personal and financial information. They encourage victims to share personal information such as name, address and bank details.
- Fake WHO Coronavirus advice emails
- Emails claiming to come from the World Health Organisation offering health advice regarding coronavirus. It may look legitimate, but it will ask you to enter your email address and password. Similar text messages are also being sent with the aim of tricking you into giving away passwords or personal information.
- Bank scams
- Emails or phone calls from a body claiming to be your bank. They may ask for your bank details, pin number or request that you move money from your accounts.
- Fake holiday refunds
- Emails or phone calls claiming to offer you refunds for flights, hotels and car rentals that were cancelled due to coronavirus. They may ask for personal details such as address, passport number and bank details.
- Personal shopping scams
- Phone calls offering personal shopping services for those who are self-isolating. They will take the money but will not deliver the service. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to this scam.
- Overpriced goods
- Some goods, such as face masks, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes are hard to come by at the moment. Fraudsters are taking advantage of this by using online marketplaces to sell these items at a hugely inflated price. Sometimes, the goods don’t actually exist.
Here are the things you can do to avoid becoming the victim of one of these scams:
- Check email addresses
- Check the sender’s email address matches with the contact name. Check that it comes from a legitimate source by checking your previous correspondence with the company they claim to be from. Following that, check the spelling, grammar and format of the email. If there are typos or mistakes in the formatting, it is likely to be a scam.
- Don’t click on unknown links
- If a link that you receive looks a bit suspicious, don’t open it as it could be malicious. Even if it is from someone you know, they might not know what it contains. Similarly, don’t download files or attachments that you don’t recognise as they could download viruses onto your computer.
- Only trust established outlets
- Do not trust information regarding coronavirus from sources you are not familiar with. Follow official government advice and don’t assume that everything you read on the internet is accurate. If you make a purchase on an online marketplace, verify the vendor you wish to purchase from by reading reviews and searching the company.
- Don’t give out personal information
- Never ever give out personal information online or on the phone. Your bank will never ask you to give your card details or move money on the phone. Do not share your passwords, address, bank details or any other confidential information.
The guidance above was created in response to the current Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst some of it may seem like common sense, we felt it important to communicate with our team and you may do so too.
Cardonet can provide you with a comprehensive range of cyber security services to help you stay secure and, at the same time, help you demonstrate compliance with industry and regulatory standards. Discover how we can help you with cyber security services.
If you are concerned about cyber-attacks and how it could affect your business, call us on +44 203 034 2244 or +1 323 984 8908. Alternately, you can contact us online. We will be happy to help you overcome your IT challenges so that you can set your business apart. Cardonet have been working with businesses for the past twenty years to help them overcome their technological challenges. We have engineering bases in the United Kingdom, Europe and Southern California and our group of highly experienced engineers are available 24/7 to assist and ensure that your IT infrastructure is secure and running seamlessly.