Fraudsters take advantage of Corona

By FMB on 

Posted in: 

This recent crisis has really brought out the best and the worst in humanity.

From stories of fights breaking out in supermarkets to wonderful examples of community spirit, every facet of human nature has been exposed.

It would be nice to dwell on the positive, but we wanted to highlight some of the worst examples of people exploiting the current situation through fraud. We want to make sure you are aware of the added risks at this point in time, when systems are being stretched.

Our Bank Manager Chetan at Nat West, has been in contact to share some of the ways people are stepping up the scamming!

1. Phishing E Mails with web site links


Fraudsters are sending out coronavirus themed phishing emails to trick people into opening malicious attachments (often including ransomware) or revealing sensitive personal and financial details. Emails often purport to be from research organisations affiliated with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Public Health England (PHE) or the World Health Organisation (WHO). They claim to be able to offer guidance and/or provide the recipient with a list of coronavirus infected people in their area.

2. Smishing


Smishing is a security attack in which the recipient is tricked into downloading a Trojan horse, virus or other malware onto their cellular phone or other mobile device. SMiShing is short for "SMS phishing."
SMS phishing uses phone text messages to deliver the bait to induce people to divulge their personal information. Fraudsters can exploit and use this personal information to commit fraud. Common examples may involve a text which states that there is a problem with your bank account and ask you to call a phone number or visit a link.
At the moment fraudsters are sending texts claiming to be from the tax office or HMRC which ask for for a link to be clicked for the business to obtain VAT or PAYE relief.


3. Invoice Fraud


This is where fraudsters pose as a creditor or supplier and advise you their company's bank details have changed (due to a Coronavirus outbreak). The communication will ask you to make all future payments to a new sort code and account number. We have seen attempted payment redirection scams on Bankline which quote Coronavirus as the reason why beneficiary bank details needed to be changed. For example, the Bankline customer in question trades regularly with a supplier in China, but are told the Chinese bank account is out of action because of the virus, and therefore funds need to be sent to an account in the USA instead.


4. Bogus Boss payment requests


Bogus emails are sent to staff claiming to be from a senior member of staff within the organisation such as a Director, CEO or Chairman etc. requesting an urgent payment. They will often say that the payment is needed due to exceptional circumstances and needs to be carried out immediately. With remote working increasingly common, there is an increased likelihood that fraudsters will use Coronavirus as the purpose for the unusual payment.


Sorry to be so negative, but we have to be on our guard. Especially at this time when we are all worrying about more important things. It’s horrible to think there are people lurking in the shadows just waiting to take advantage of this awful situation.

Keep safe, keep well and keep guard. From the FMB Team

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