The spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be a major national and international concern. Unfortunately these concerns are now being used by fraudsters and hackers. There has been a significant rise in phishing emails being sent in the hope of playing on people's concerns in an attempt to encourage them to share information such as their email login details, bank details or other personal information. These spoof emails include communications from the likes of the World Health Organization and HM Revenue and Customs.
Below is guidance on how to protect yourself from falling victim from such scams.
Tips for identifying and avoiding phishing emails:
- Beware of online requests for personal information. A coronavirus-themed email that seeks personal information such as login details is likely to be a phishing scam. Legitimate government agencies will not ask for that type of information. Never respond to the email with your personal data.
- Check the email address or link. You can inspect a link by hovering your mouse button over the URL to see where it leads. Sometimes, it is obvious the web address is not legitimate. But keep in mind phishers can create links that closely resemble legitimate addresses. Delete the email.
- Watch for spelling and grammatical mistakes. If an email includes spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors, it is likely a sign you have received a phishing email. Delete it.
- Look for generic greetings. Phishing emails are unlikely to use your name. Greetings like “Dear sir or madam" signal an email is not legitimate.
- Avoid emails that insist you act now. Phishing emails often try to create a sense of urgency or demand immediate action. The goal is to get you to click on a link and provide personal information — right now. Instead, delete the message.
Stay safe in health and online.
You can read more information on Midlands Fraud Forum and Safe in Warwickshire websites.