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Topic: Coronavirus Related Fraud
Tom Simpson
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Coronavirus Related Fraud
on: March 20, 2020, 22:40

Staffordshire Police are reporting “Coronavirus Related Fraud” which is affecting many people, and they want you to be aware of what is happening.

What scams are we seeing?

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.

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

Fraudulent emails – We have also received over 200 reports of coronavirus-themed fraudulent emails. These attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments which could lead to fraudsters stealing people’s personal information, email logins and passwords, and banking details.

Some of the tactics being used in fraudulent emails include:

Fraudsters claiming to be from a research group that mimic the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO). 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.

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

For the latest health information and advice about COVID-19 please visit the NHS website.


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