GoCompare calls for vigilance against coronavirus scams

GoCompare has urged people to be “extra vigilant” against phishing and online shopping scams, as cybercriminals look to capitalise on coronavirus fears.

The comparison website suggested criminals are operating a variety of scams from online shopping for goods that never arrive, or for fake treatments for Covid-19, as well as bogus emails, texts and apps claiming to have important coronavirus updates.

Once clicked on, GoCompare warned that such scams are leading to devices being infected, to emails purporting to be from HMRC, either offering a tax refund or threatening jail if bank details aren’t provided to settle a “tax issue”.

According to Action Fraud’s figures for March 2020, coronavirus-related fraud reports have increased by 400%, with victims’ losses totalling around £1m.

GoCompare head of fraud, Fleur Lewis, commented: “Fraudsters look for any opportunity to exploit the public’s concerns and anxieties. Sadly, we’re already seeing a host of scams preying on the public’s fears of the coronavirus in order to steal people’s key personal data and money.

“Cybercriminals are impersonating genuine organisations, including banks, government departments, and health service providers, to operate coronavirus-themed scams in order get victims to disclose sensitive data or to click on links which may contain malware.

“So, we’re urging people to be extra vigilant and make sure their online devices and apps are regularly updated with the latest software – which usually contain important security updates.

“Lots of organisations are sending emails at the moment with Covid-19 updates and there are people having to shop online now, who may not be that familiar with the process. Criminals know this and are out to exploit the situation.

“As a result, people should be wary of unsolicited emails and texts and remember that banks and other official sources would never ask for personal information to be supplied by email.”

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