Billions of Hotmail and Gmail users warned over dangerous email that drains your bank account
SCAMMERS are using false promises of quick and easy tests for the newly emerged Covid-19 variant in an attempt to fleece victims out of their cash.
According to UK cybercrime experts, the crooks are sending out masses of emails dressed up as NHS messages regarding the Omicron variant.
Recipients are encouraged to click a link in the email to order a free testing kit for the mutant strain which is currently sweeping the globe.
When someone follows the link, they're taken to a phoney health service webpage that asks them to plug in their bank account details.
The scam campaign was picked up by fraud-fighting specialists Individual Protection Solutions following a report from one of its members.
Founder Charlie Shakeshaft said the ploy was "particularly sinister" because it played on people's fears about the new variant.
"Scammers are using the social uncertainty surrounding Omicron to prey on vulnerable people," he told The Sun.
"They’re targeting people who are in desperate need to book a test before the crowds in a bid to get them to act quickly.
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"Those who are the most vulnerable to the strain are the most desperate, and so are most likely to fall for the scam, which makes it particularly sinister."
The Omicron variant was identified last month and threatens the battle against Covid-19 as it could be more resistant to the vaccines and natural immunity.
On Wednesday, Boris Johnson announced the reintroduction of working from home measures and the enforcement of vaccine passports over fears that the variant is more infectious.
The scam email, which purports to be from an official NHS account, offers a "free PCR Omicron test" in order to "avoid restrictions".
It falsely claims that the tests will allow recipients to "travel freely and safely". Those are not tested will be forced to isolate from home, the message says.
Scam messages that takes advantage of the fears surrounding Omicron are expected to rise in frequency in the coming weeks.
The NHS has issued a warning about "fake emails" asking you to order Omicron testing kits.
"We never ask for bank details, so please be aware of suspicious emails or text messages," the health service tweeted.
According to IPS chief Charlie, users can avoid getting roped into similar scams by following a few simple safety tips.
"Never give your financial information over to an email purporting to be from the NHS, and never click links in email or texts that you’re suspicious of," he said.
"There’s also no specific test for the PCR variant. Anyone offering this is fake."
"Overall, awareness is key and being up to date on the latest scams is important so you’re always prepared and protected."
In the UK, you can report a suspected scam email to the National Cyber Security Centre here.
In other news, Samsung is reportedly killing off its beloved Note smartphone after more than a decade.
Apple has announced that it will let customers fix their own iPhones for the first time starting next year.
The UK is fighting an epidemic of hack attacks targeting consumers and businesses, according to officials.
And, NASA has slammed Russia after a missile it fired into one of its own satellites forced the space station to perform an emergency swerve.
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