phishing scam

Look out for the Covid-19 tricksters

While the country adjusts to life under the cloud of Covid-19, criminals are using this period of upheaval and uncertainty to their advantage. We wanted to alert you to some of the exploitation tactics being used – particularly against the elderly – and encourage you to be on your guard.

The following are some of the key trends and cases being picked up by fraud-watchers including professional bodies such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (IAEW):

• Individuals impersonating the Government, or HMRC, notifying the victim that they were due a rebate and requesting bank details to enable the payment

• Criminals using scare tactics to pressurise investors to move their investments. They claim the pandemic provides time-critical opportunities. Information around the investment opportunity is often sparse

• Bogus companies are purporting to sell faces masks, hand sanitiser and other items of personal protection equipment, but once the payment is made, the company disappears

• Online fraudsters have sent phishing emails targeting unsuspecting businesses claiming to be from HMRC chief executive Jim Harra

• Fraudsters impersonating High Street banks persuading their victims to transfer funds to a new account following a ‘security breach’ and a change to normal procedures as a result of Covid-19. This type of scam is an example of social engineering whereby the fraudster has researched a particular victim via their social media accounts and other sources

• Bogus emails asking for a donation to tackle Covid-19, normally pretending to be from a charity which is assisting vulnerable people during the outbreak.

There are some basic rules to follow to avoid being scammed, which we offer below.

  • Don’t click on a link from an unsolicited email
  • Don’t click on website links unless you’re sure of what they link to. If in doubt, find another link to the page you want. Never click on pop-up offers
  • If a cold caller rings you, don’t ring any number they ask you to. If you do want to follow up with a phone call, look up the organisation’s number and ring it later. Or just hang up
  • If someone comes to your door, don’t buy anything. Take details and check before you follow anything up. Don’t let anyone in unless you want to. 

If you receive a suspicious messages, you can report them to the National Cyber Security Centre and forward suspicious e-mails claiming to be from HMRC to and texts to 60599.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email