Cyber Threat Weekly

Covid 19 Scams

August 10, 2020 WMRCCU Season 1 Episode 12
Cyber Threat Weekly
Covid 19 Scams
Show Notes Transcript

This episode talks about the ten Covid 19 related scams currently being observed data breach. 


After listening to this podcast please visit Action Fraud, National Cyber Security Centre and the West Midlands Cyber Protect Website for more guidance on all things relating to online Security.


Our host today is Patrick, a Detective and Cyber Protect officer for the Regional Cyber Team part of the Regional Organised Crime Unit for the West Midlands.


Also covering the West Midlands is Sean Long – WMPDigitalPCSO, Warwickshire and West Mercia is James Squire - cyberpcso and Staffordshire Police area is Mathew Hough-Clews and can be found at sp_digitalpcso.


To contact us please email us at

Hello, my name is Patrick and I'm a Detective and Cyber Protect Officer from the West Midlands Regional Cybercrime Team. 

The date is Monday the 10th of August 2020, and the cyber threat weekly headline today is UK finance reveals 10 COVID-19 scams the public should be on high alert for. 

Banking and finance sector is working with the government and law enforcement agencies to help identify scams and prevent people being subjected to fraud. Criminals are experts in impersonating trusted organisations, consumers are reminded to always take a moment to stop and think before parting with their money or information. These 10 scams sit within three distinct categories COVID-19 financial support, health and lockdown.

COVID-19 financial support scams include the following; emails sent purporting to be from fake government departments designed to look like they are from genuine government departments offering grants of up to 7500 pound. These emails may not be legitimate and are attempting to obtain personal and financial information. 

COVID-19 relief funds emails encourage recipients to fill in forms with their personal information in the belief that they will obtain money from government relief funds which are in fact not genuine council tax reduction. Criminals have been targeting people with official looking emails offering a reduction in their Council Tax. Emails use copied government branding to look convincing. However, these will not result in any reduction in your council tax. 

Universal Credit, fraudsters are also preying on people who receive the benefits. These emails offer the recipient help when applying for Universal Credit, or taking some of the payment as an advance for their services. 

Health, the fake NHS track and trace app scam is one shocking scam that has appeared during the pandemic. Criminals are preying on an anxious public and sending phishing emails and links, claiming that recipients have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. These lead to fake websites that are used to steal personal and financial information or infect devices with malware. 

Hand sanitizer, and face masks. victims are also been targeted by fake adverts for COVID. related products such as hand sanitizers, and face masks, which do not exist offer such products at a discounted price. 

The four remaining scams relate to the lockdown that was put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The first one is in relation to TV licencing, criminals are sending fake emails and text messages claiming to be from the TV licencing authority telling people they are eligible for six months of free TV licence because of the corona pandemic. Recipients are told there has been a problem with their direct debit and are asked to click on a link and provide their direct debit details again. 

Secondly is online TV subscription services. amid a rise in the use of online TV subscription services during lockdown, customers have been targeted by criminals sending convincing emails asking them to update their payment details. 

Online dating websites, fraudsters are also exploiting those using online dating websites by creating fake profiles on social media sites used to manipulate victims into handing over their money. Often criminals will use the identities of real people to strike up relationships with the targets. And finally, fake investment opportunities. Emails and adverts on social media platforms are being used to encourage unsuspecting victims to put money into fake investment companies. 

All these phishing emails will contain links, which if use will infect your device and or steal personal and financial information. 

In order to spot a COVID-19 scam, people should be on high alert for the following five things. 

If the website address is inconsistent with the legitimate organisation, check this by using a different browser or device. 

You receive the phone call, text or email asking for financial information such as complete pin or password. No genuine financial Institute or organisation would ever ask for this in its entirety. 

You receive a call or email completely out of the blue with an urgent request, asking for your personal or financial information and or to carry out an immediate action such as a payment. 

You are offered a heavily discounted or considerably cheaper product compared to the original price. 

There are spelling and grammar, mistakes, or inconsistency consistencies in the story you're given. 

The financial industry is also encouraging everyone to remain vigilant and to follow the advice of the Take Five to stop fraud campaign. 

Stop, challenge and protect, whenever you receive any messages out of the blue. 

Stop. taking a moment to stop and think before part of your money or information could keep you safe.

Challenge, Could it be fake? It's okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests or criminals will try to rush or panic you.

Protect, Contact your bank immediately if you think you've fallen for a scam, and report to action fraud. 

For additional guidance, please visit the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Action Fraud and the Take Five campaign websites. Also please do not hesitate to contact us with regard to training, advice and guidance on how to protect and prepare yourself or your business online. 

Thank you