POLICE across the North-East are warning people about fraudsters who are trying to exploit the spread of the coronavirus to commit cyber crime.
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau issued an urgent warning over scams after 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.
Reports have already been received whereby scammers are sending coronavirus themed phishing emails in an attempt to trick people in to opening malicious attachments or revealing personal, sensitive, or financial details.
The scammers may claim to be from the World Health Organisation (WHO) or Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in order to make the email seem more legitimate.
A spokeperson for Durham Police’s cyber crime team said: “We are aware that fraudsters are trying to exploit the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus to facilitate various types of fraud and cyber crime.
“Be wary of scam emails, do not reply to the sender, or click on any links or attachments within these emails. Do not follow the instructions in the email.”
The following advice has been issued:
- 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.
Protect your devices from the latest threats:
- Always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats.
Emails can be reported to Action Fraud either via their website at www.actionfraud.police.uk, or via telephone on 0300 123 2040.