Warning as Britons lose £4.6 million in shock lockdown scams – how to protect yourself
Fraud reports have risen in recent weeks, with lockdown measures permitting cyber criminals to take advantage of unsuspecting Britons. It is feared that fraudsters are finding new and more inventive ways to target people during this time, and experts on the issue have warned people to stay alert. Recent research by Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber reporting service, has said a combined total of £4,609,536 has been lost by Britons in recent weeks.
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Over 2,000 victims have fallen prey to complex scams which capitalise on uncertainty during this unprecedented time.
Action Fraud also stated it has received 11,206 reports of coronavirus-related phishing emails in recent weeks.
Phishing emails attempt to defraud the public with cyber criminals disguising themselves as official organisations in a bid to steal personal information and data.
This data is often used for criminal purposes, and Britons could have their bank accounts cleared out in a matter of minutes.
Action Fraud recently drew attention to the issue of charity donations made during the outbreak.
With an increase in charitable donations, the organisation states that criminals are often looking to take advantage to ensure money given in good faith ultimately ends up in their hands.
A similar scam involves the new NHS Test and Trace service, with some reports suggesting criminals posing as the service are asking for passwords, bank account details and pin numbers.
Britons should be reminded that this is fraudulent, as the NHS will never ask for this information.
There are various ways people can protect themselves against scammers.
The government has issued three-step advice known as: Stop, Challenge and Protect.
Britons should first take a moment to stop and think before parting with their cash.
They should then challenge whether it could be a fake – for example if an email looks suspicious, or if sensitive information is requested.
Finally, for protection, people should check they have the latest software on all devices, and contact their bank and Action Fraud if they believe they have fallen victim.
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Several people have relayed their experiences of being scammed through the website Twitter.
One wrote: “I feel dumb for letting this happen, but I was desperate, and I ended up getting scammed.”
Another said: “Has coronavirus made us all crazy, silly, gullible, blinded?
“I was very ashamed of myself at first, for not being able to detect this.”
And a third wrote: “I am so desperate after losing my job to coronavirus that I was almost successfully scammed by a fake account.
“Normally, I am much more sceptical and pay much closer attention to detail.”
Scams have clearly risen, even in the space of weeks.
The last report was published on May 15, and since then, a rise of £1,155,553 has been observed.
The cruel attacks have often involved sensitive information, and have the potential to seriously impact Britons.
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