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Mini-Pandemic of Fraud Uses Virus In Fake Calls and Emails

Published on: 24 Mar, 2020
Updated on: 26 Mar, 2020

Surrey residents are being warned to stay on the alert for frauds or attempted frauds related to Covid-19.

No reports have been made to Surrey Police so far, but nationally more than 100 to Action Fraud since February 1 have cost victims nearly £970,000.

Most scams involve online shopping where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser and other products which never arrived.

Other reports include ticket fraud, romance fraud, charity fraud and lender loan fraud.

There have also been more than 200 reports of coronavirus-themed phishing emails. These attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments which lead to theft of personal information, email logins, passwords and banking details.

Some tactics in phishing emails include:

• Emails claim to be from a research group that mimics the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO) and offer to provide you with a list of active infections in your area, but to access this you need to either click on a link which redirects you to a credential-stealing page or make a donation of support into a Bitcoin account.

• You get articles about the virus outbreak with a link to a fake company website where you are encouraged to click to subscribe to a daily newsletter for further updates.

• Investment schemes and trading advice invite you to click in and take advantage of the coronavirus market downturn.

• You get an email purporting to be from HMRC offering a tax refund and directing you to a fake website that will harvest personal and financial details. The emails often display the HMRC logo, making it look reasonably genuine and convincing.

Superintendent Sanjay Andersen, head of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, said: “Fraudsters will use any opportunity they can to take money from innocent people. This includes exploiting tragedies and global emergencies.”

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Responses to Mini-Pandemic of Fraud Uses Virus In Fake Calls and Emails

  1. John Lomas Reply

    March 26, 2020 at 10:27 am

    How are people having food boxes collected and delivered to them by volunteers able to pay for them? They will certainly run out of cash, even if they had got some at the start of the lockdown.

    Volunteers are unlikely to have mobile card readers and I would certainly be warning others not to let someone else take their card to the shop even if they restrict it’s used to the contactless limit.

    I wouldn’t even let someone I know well have my PIN to get a cash withdrawal or do a bigger shop.

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