HMRC identifies 292 Covid-19 scams
18 May 2020
HM Revenue & Customs has asked internet service providers to remove 292 scams using the Covid-19 crisis to make money.
According to a Freedom of Information request by Griffin Law, 237 were proactively identified and requested for removal by HMRC, with the remaining 55 flagged by members of the public.
HMRC also disclosed that it had discovered 62 phishing scams related to Covid-19 since March, with the majority in the form of text message scams.
Andy Harcup, vice president, Absolute Software, said: “With millions of people working remotely during the lockdown, hackers are creating increasingly sophisticated email and text message scams designed to trick individuals into handing over confidential data. We’ve already seen a huge rise in phishing attacks purporting to be from key government initiatives.
“It’s vital that during this difficult time companies and workers remain vigilant; checking the legitimacy of all emails and ensure that they have the necessary security systems in place to identify these threats and prevent cyber criminals from exploiting vulnerable people during the Covid-19 outbreak.”
Last month it was revealed that a phishing email scam pretending to be from HMRC advertising the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was attempting to get business owners to share personal data including bank details.
Tim Sadler, CEO, Tessian, commented: “During the Covid-19 outbreak, we’ve seen opportunistic hackers continually taking advantage of the fact that people will be searching for more information and guidance on how to adjust to the new normal, in attempts to make their phishing scams all the more effective.
“It’s vital that companies and employees are made fully aware of these threats, particularly at a time with high levels of remote working, with many people in isolation and at a much greater risk of being defrauded. Key tips to stop scammers include, being careful to share any personal information online as well as being wary of unsolicited emails asking for urgent information. It’s also critical to avoid sharing financial details or personal information with unfamiliar websites.”
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