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CICM Super Seven – tips to spot and stop Covid scammers




With many of us working from home and turning to our electronic devices to connect, e-fraud is a very real risk. Our colleagues at Arvato Financial Solutions have identified seven types of scam that criminals have adapted to capitalise on the Covid-19 situation – and CICM offers seven tips to spot and stop them.


Scam 1. Bogus Websites

SPOT – Websites with fake news about COVID-19 or posing as charities are easily shared on social media. By asking you to create an account or log in, they gain access to your personal information and can infect your device. A common emerging version is Coronavirus Maps that delivers malware.

STOP – Check the web addresses using a secondary source such as a search engine – the scammer addresses will be similar but not exact.


Scam 2. Government Branding

SPOT – Fraudsters are using Government branding to try to trick people. There have been reports of criminals using HMRC branding to make spurious offers of financial support through unsolicited emails, phone calls and text messages. Other communications claiming to be from government departments, are offering grants, tax rebates, or compensation.

STOP – Don’t respond directly to unsolicited correspondence. Instead, go to the official source ( and use the contact information they share there.


Scam 3. ‘Local’ email attachments

SPOT – Some emails are trying to lure people into clicking on attachments by offering information about people in the local area who are affected by coronavirus. Clicking malicious attachments put sensitive data such as personal information, passwords, contacts and bank details at risk.

STOP – Do not click on any attachment until you are satisfied it is from a genuine source. If you are unsure, contact the sender by another means and ask them to resend the information.


Scam 4. Online Shopping

SPOT – There are numerous shopping scams in circulation, where people ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser and other products that were never delivered. Other people have been targeted by the selling of fake testing kits or supposed cures for the virus.

STOP – Instigate any search for yourself rather than responding to an unsolicited advert. And if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.


Scam 5. Fake Apps

SPOT – There are currently several maps circulating online claiming to display live information on the spread of COVID-19. Some of them come as downloadable apps.

STOP – Be wary of apps that you have not seen before and always check official sources before downloading them.


Scam 6. Phishing SMS

SPOT – Several text messages have been sent by criminals, asking for personal information. Texts claim to be collating important information to assist the Covid relief effort and ask for what seems like fairly innocuous personal information. However, they layer their efforts to build a bank of personal data that, together, gives them enough information to defraud the victim.

STOP – Do not give away your personal information, even in part.


Scam 7. Computer access

SPOT – Several ‘virus protection’ scams are in force and are focusing on new ‘working from home’ employees. The trickster claims to be from a software provider or similar business and convinces victims to allow them access to their computer to assist in resolving an issue. In reality, they use the opportunity to add malware and extract data.

STOP – Do not let anyone access your computer remotely unless they are an agreed source (e.g. your organisation’s IT department or outsourced provider).