In these difficult times, where we need to band together to fight COVID-19, it is sad to see people exploiting this crisis for monetary gain.

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In light of the increase in Coronavirus (COVID-19) scams we have set up this page to help keep people informed about how they can stay safe online.

Firstly, please don’t be consumed by rumour and gossip and ensure your COVID-19 news is obtained from reputable news outlets to dispel any myths which are circulating on social media. A valuable source of legitimate information can also be found on the World Health Organisation (WHO) website here.

We at the Yorkshire and Humber Organised Crime unit want to keep as many people safe digitally, as well as physically, during these difficult times.

Cyber criminals are exploiting COVID-19 with clickbait, fake news and malware aimed at tricking concerned victims into downloading malicious files onto their machines. 

Our key mitigation advice remains the same as always:

  • Ensure your devices are running the most recent software (both your operating system and applications).
  • Make sure your passwords are complex and unique (use the NCSC guidelines on 3 random words to keep your accounts safe).
  • Consider activating 2 factor authentication/multifactor authentication to add an extra layer of security to your devices and accounts. 
  • Be wary of emails and text messages containing links and attachments. Try and avoid clicking on any links in digital correspondence unless you can confirm the authenticity of the sender. 
  • Avoid using free WiFi hotspots without using a VPN to ensure your device’s traffic is encrypted and harder for a criminal to intercept and read. 

YHROCU - Weekly Newsletter Bulletins. 

Every Friday we aim to release a newsletter looking to raise awareness around current threat patterns and how to stay safe online. These are emailed direclty to businesses within the Yorkshire and Humber Region but are also available to download below. If you want to be added to our mailing list then please email [email protected]

  • DOWNLOAD  - Friday 10th April 2020 - Focuses on securing the popular video conferencing platform zoom. 
  • DOWNLOAD  - Friday 17th April 2020 - Focuses on fake online coronavirus mapping websites.
  • DOWNLOAD  - Friday 22nd May 2020 -Focuses on Bluetooth Security 
  • DOWNLOAD  - Friday 5th June 2020 -Information on the COVID Track and Trace App

At the bottom of this page are a selection of downloadable advice sheets to help you stay safe online. 

We strive to update this page with the latest news about COVID-19 scams. If you have been affected by something you consider to be criminal please ensure you report it to https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or call your local police force on 101.

 

CURRENT COVID-19 FRAUD RISKS

  • Conveyancing fraud
  • Bank account takeover fraud
  • Fake COVID-19 contact tracing apps
  • Ransomware
  • Pension fraud
  • Insider fraud (esp. disclosure of internal processes to facilitate fraud)
  • Phishing emails (esp. government departments)
  • Business email compromise.

ANTICIPATED AND/OR EMERGING ISSUES

  • Fraudsters that have harvested personal and company data during the COVID-19 crisis could start using this data to target banks, credit card companies, building societies, and insurance companies in the coming months.
  • There are concerns in the current crisis that fraudsters could begin to inflate property prices to gain access to finance.
  • It is anticipated that there will be an increase in investment and pension frauds as the pandemic comes to an end.

SOME SIMPLE PREVENTATIVE TIPS …

  • You can report phishing emails to the National Cyber Security Centre by forwarding the email to [email protected]phishing.gov.uk.
  • If you receive a fraudulent text message, you can report it directly to your mobile phone provider free of charge by forwarding the text message to 7726.
  • When considering an investment opportunity it is important to conduct due diligence.
    • Check whether a company is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority here.
    • The Financial Conduct Authority have issued guidance, available here.
    • The Pensions regulator have also issued guidance, available here.
  • Always use a familiar method to verify new or a change of bank details before a payment is made, for example a previously used telephone number. Contact details contained within an email and PDF invoices can be altered.
    • The Fraud Advisory Panel have issued a helpsheet on invoice fraud, available here.
  • The Law Society have guidance on their website relating to property fraud, available here.
  • The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in partnership with the Internet Advertising Bureau have launched a new scam ad alerting system, available here

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  Latest Alerts

27/05/2020 - Fraud Alert COVID-19 Business Grant Scam Emails

 

Below is a series of pages built to keep you upto date on the latest threats and mitigation advice. 

  • COVID-19 Rise in Email Scams - Goverenment Advice Bulletin - 21/04/2020 

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Click here to read the latest from the National Cyber Security Centre

Infographics and Advice Page

Click here for more COVID-19 infographics and advice downloads

 

Exploits and Vulnerabilities Page

Click here for more information on COVID-19 Exploits and Vulnerabilities page

 

UK Government Advice Page

Click here for more information on COVID-19 UK Government Advice page 

 

Phishing Examples Page

Click here for more information on COVID-19 Phishing Examples. 

 

Smishing Examples Page

Click here for more information on COVID-19 Smishing Examples. 

 

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Click here for more information on COVID-19 Domain Threat List. 

 

Fraud Mitigation Advice

Click here for more information on COVID-19 Fraud Mitigation Advice 
 

  • COVID-19 Zoom Security Guidance

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Click here to read how to secure video conferencing software Zoom