Screen with COVID-19 Advice and a phishing hook through it

Warnings issued after social engineers exploiting COVID-19 fears scam UK consumers out of millions

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Social engineers continue to increase their attacks on distracted home workers.

COVID-19 related phishing campaigns and other scams have increased more than tenfold since January 2020. In the UK alone, coronavirus scams have cost the general public millions in damages.

Due to this massive increase in malicious activity, several UK financial regulators and authorities are working together to warn consumers of the dangers posed by fraudsters.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) and The Pensions Regulator released a joint warning last week, urging consumers to be extra vigilant during these uncertain times.

“Fraudsters will exploit the coronavirus to prey on anxiety and fear of savers and investors, especially those who may be vulnerable.”

Mark Steward – Executive director of enforcement and market oversight, FCA

“Savers need to check with impartial sources of advice and guidance before making big decisions about their finances, especially in the current climate, and not be pressurised into doing something they will later regret.”

Steve Webb – Former Pension Minister, partner at Lane Clark and Peacock

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has also set up a warning page dedicated to coronavirus related crime, educating readers on what to look for when dealing with a potential scam.

We (Phishing Tackle) urge our readers to stay especially vigilant during this time, malicious actors are doing everything they can to pick off vulnerable and unsuspecting users and just a single click or download that was not properly checked could spell disaster.

For all organisations, teaching your users how to spot phishing emails has never been more prudent. Security awareness training with simulated phishing exercises is the fastest and most cost effective method in reducing your users’ susceptibility to falling for a phishing attack.

During this time we have extended our free trial to three months for all healthcare organisations globally.

We also have several tools available for free to all users, including our Click-Prone® Test, which reveals how many of your users would fall for a phishing attack right now. It also includes email templates matching real world coronavirus phishing emails.

Use this time wisely, stay informed, stay safe.