Criminals are using the COVID-19 vaccine as a way to target the public by tricking them to hand over cash or financial details. They are sending convincing-looking text messages letting people know they are eligible for the vaccine, or phoning people directly, pretending to be from the NHS, or local pharmacy. Read more here.

Coronavirus scam warnings and resources

As the spread of coronavirus has resulted in major changes and disruption to our lives, there has been a huge increase in the number of scams and cybercrime. We have pulled together a range of online resources you can use to help protect yourself against online scams and fraud.

Urgent-sounding messages are a common tactic used by criminals. Be wary of any texts or emails asking for your personal or financial details.

Software Updates – Remember to update software on your devices otherwise your devices and data may be left vulnerable to cyber criminals.

DCMS

False information about the COVID Vaccine is regularly shared online. The SHARE checklist from the UK Government can help you spot this harmful content and help you and your community stay safe online.

HMRC

Unsurprisingly, many scams are disguised as communications and services from HMRC. To help raise awareness, HMRC has published a list of examples, with pictures, of recently reported HMRC scams, including a new one claiming to be about a tax refund from your 2018 tax return.

Whilst many of these appear to be very convincing, if you look at the ‘from’ email address or the website address you can see that they are not official domains. HRMC says they will never send notifications by email about tax rebates or refunds. HMRC will never ask for personal or financial information when they send text messages.

If you receive a text scam you can send phishing text messages to 60599 (network charges apply) or email phishing@hmrc.gov.uk then delete it.

You can also check the list of genuine contacts from HMRC to help you decide if a suspicious email, phone call, text or letter could be a scam.

National Cyber Security Centre

The NCSC – part of GCHQ – has launched ‘Cyber Aware’ campaign promoting behaviours to mitigate threats and created a world-leading scam reporting service for people to flag suspicious emails for the NCSC to assess and take down malicious content. Read more here.

You can report suspicious emails by forwarding them to report@phishing.gov.uk.

The NCSC has also issued guidance to help organisations manage the cyber security challenges of increased home working.

The Fraud Advisory Panel

Features a section on Charity Fraud, including useful webinars, factsheets and publications.

Get Safe Online

Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of unbiased, factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety.

OFCOM

OFCOM’s website includes advice for consumers around coronavirus scam calls and texts.

Action Fraud

Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cyber crime.

Friends Against Scams

Friends Against Scams has produced a useful information sheet of things to look out for in order to stay safe and are also offering a free online awareness session to become a Friend Against Scams.

Business Against Scams

Businesses Against Scams from the National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team and includes a number of resources that companies can share with their employees which can educate them on a variety of common business related frauds, these are: Government grant and tax rebate scams; CEO fraud; Invoice/mandate fraud and Tech support scams. You can sign up on their website for access to an online training powerpoint and factsheets that you can share with your team.

Take Five

Take Five is a national campaign offering straight-forward, impartial advice that helps prevent email, phone-based and online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.

Many people may already know the dos and don’ts of financial fraud and scams – that no-one should ever contact them out of the blue to ask for their full PIN or full password, or ever make them feel pressured into moving money to another account. The trouble is, in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget this.

After all, trusting people on their word is something everyone tends to do instinctively. If someone says they’re from your bank or a trusted organisation, why wouldn’t you believe them? Take Five urges you to stop and consider whether the situation is genuine – to stop and think if what you’re being told really makes sense.

Let’s Talk About It

Let’s Talk About It is an initiative designed to provide practical help and guidance to the public in order to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. They have created a Parent-Guardian Online Radicalisation Information and Support document to help parents better understand online radicalisation and what to look out for.