Fraudsters are exploiting the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus to facilitate various types of fraud and cyber crime.
Since February 2020, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has identified 21 reports of fraud where Coronavirus was mentioned, with victim losses totalling over £800k.Ten of these reports were made by victims that attempted to purchase protective face masks from fraudulent sellers. Reporting numbers are expected to rise as the virus continues to spread across the world.
Fraudsters are also sending out coronavirus-themed phishing emails in an attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial details.
Some of the other tactics we’ve identified from victim reports:
Fraudsters purporting to be from research organisation’s affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)and the World Health Organisation (WHO) contact potential victims over email. They claim to be able to provide the recipient with a list of coronavirus infected people in their area. In order to access this information,the victim needs to click on a link, which leads to a malicious website, or is asked to make a payment in Bitcoin.