While the world has been focused on battling the various threats posed by coronavirus, cyber criminals have been exploiting the crisis for their own gains.

Over the past couple of months, we have seen a sharp increase in online scams and phishing attacks related to COVID-19, as hackers seek to play on the current uncertain climate.

To ensure you don’t fall victim, we urge you to follow our advice and be vigilant during these challenging times.

BE AWARE of these current coronavirus scams

Fake Goods Scam

Fake Goods

Scammers are using the coronavirus crisis to exploit demand for products like face masks, testing kits and hand gel by selling fake or non-existent products online.

HMRC Scam

HMRC

Cyber criminals are pretending to be from HMRC and offering goodwill payments from special ‘coronavirus funds’. Remember, HMRC will never email, text or call about tax rebates or penalties so this could be a scam.

Government Impersonation

Government Impersonation

Fraudsters are pretending to be from the UK Government and sending texts claiming people are being fined for breaching lockdown restrictions.

Covid-19 Phishing scam

Phishing

Vulnerable people are receiving unsolicited emails offering life or medical insurance. These emails claim to be from a legitimate organisation such as a bank or online payment service.

School Closures

School Closures

Some parents have received fake emails saying their child is entitled to free school meals and asking for bank details to help with outlays while schools are closed.

Dodgy investment scams

Dodgy Investments

Scammers are capitalising on current stock market volatility by contacting people through email or phone and pressuring them into investing.

LOOK OUT for these tell-tale signs

Asking for data
Asking for data

A genuine organisation will never contact you out of the blue and ask for your account details, PIN or password.

Too good to be true
Too good to be true

If the price is very low compared to other similar products or an investment opportunity seems unbelievable, then it probably is!

Tech tricks
Tech tricks

Scammers will often use fake websites that look almost exactly like the real one or change phone numbers so that it displays something we recognise.

Generic greeting
Generic greetings

Legitimate companies will call you by your name, so greetings like ‘Dear customer’, ‘Dear valued member’ or ‘Dear account holder’ are a good indicator that it’s a scam.

Bad spelling
Bad spelling

Unlike legitimate organisations, scammers won’t have someone on hand to check for typos and grammar.

Odd email addresses
Odd addresses

Fraudsters will often use odd email addresses made up of lots of numbers and letters or use familiar-looking ones with slight alterations.

Dos and Don’ts

  • DON’T be too trusting.

  • DON’T let someone you don’t know take control of your computer.
  • DON’T automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
  • DON’T be complacent and think it won’t happen to you!

DO keep questioning anything you receive. Can you confirm who they are? Is it too good to be true? If you’re not sure, investigate first!

If you have any questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at info@burningtree.co.uk.