The rise of Covid-19 phishing scams
Whilst the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine across the UK brings with it the good news that a return to normality is in sight, it also offers scammers and fraudsters a new opportunity to prey on unsuspecting victims with carefully crafted phishing scams.
Since the start of the pandemic, the rate of phishing emails went up by 667% in just one month and the tactic has remained persistent ever since. The initial scamming attempts took advantage of people’s heightened state of anxiety about their health or the financial impact the virus would have on their lives and businesses, making them more vulnerable to fall for fake offers of help and solutions. The phishing scams were often highly sophisticated and convincing that worked by linking victims to fake websites that ask them for personal details such as banking information.
Announcement of a vaccine has seen another spike of similar types of scams to take advantage of the current climate, with a particular rise in scam text messages. For example, in late December, the NHS was made aware of a scam of this nature whereby people are asked to press a number on their keypad or send a text to confirm they wish to receive the vaccine, which may result in a charge being applied to their phone bill. Police forces in the UK shared details of a similar text message scam requesting recipients follow a link to “apply for a vaccine” by sharing their personal information and bank details for verification.
Our advice is to always err on the side of caution and to never provide any private information, especially bank details, to a contact that you do not know and trust. Should you receive a suspicious text message on your work device, inform your line manager or IT team member immediately to ensure the entire company is made aware of the threat and does not fall victim.
Here at CSA, we offer several solutions for helping businesses detect and protect against cyber threats that come in all shapes and sizes. Our range of cyber security e-learning courses is ideal for arming yourself against cyber attacks – discover our courses here.