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Warning about coronavirus-related scams

Warning about coronavirus-related scams

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:46am 9th March 2020. (Updated at 6:55am 9th March 2020)

Devon and Cornwall Police have issued a warning about coronavirus-related scams doing the rounds.

Officers say that fraudsters are exploiting the spread of Covid-19 through various types of fraud and cyber crime.

Over £800,000 has been lost through these scams since February.

Cases involve victims who tried to buy protective face masks from fraudulent sellers and also emails with malicious attachments.

People are being urged to make sure that friends, relatives and neighbours who may be vulnerable are aware.

Coronavirus Mouth Guard

"Please pass this information on to relatives, friends and neighbours who may be vulnerable but who may not see this warning and advice on social media. Fraudsters are exploiting the spread of the 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 £800,000. Ten of these reports were made by victims that attempted to purchase protective face masks from fraudulent sellers.

"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."

Devon and Cornwall Police

Hazmat Suit

Here is the advice on what to look out for:

Some of the other tactics that NFIB has identified from victim reports include:

  • 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.

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.

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 the Action Fraud website.

Protect your devices from the latest threats:

  • Always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats. 

You can find more information on how to update your devices here.

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