100 days since the UK lockdown was implemented and there's many changes and things to worry about - the virus itself, the impact on friends and family, not being able to go out, restrictions on travel, mental health, financial worry and now fraud and criminal activity! Lockdown also seems to be rich pickings for criminal activity!
A report from Action Fraud (https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/alert/over-16-million-lost-to-online-shopping-fraud-during-lockdown-with-people-aged-18-26-most-at-risk) reveals that some 16,000 people have fallen victim to online shopping scams during lockdown, accounting for around £16.6 million in losses. The report details how members of the public purchased mobile phones, vehicles, and electronics from scam websites only for these items to never arrive. It also reveals that nearly a quarter of online fraud victims during lockdown are aged between 18 to 26.
Since launching in April, the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/report-suspicious-emails) has received over a million suspect emails. Many of these have been for scam shopping sites.
If you receive a suspicious email that doesn’t look quite right, just forward it to [email protected] and they will investigate and take action where appropriate. There is no harm in forwarding emails which turn out to be legitimate so do not hesitate to forward something to them.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has produced guidance on dealing with suspicious emails, phone calls and text messages (https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/suspicious-email-actions). It offers advice on spotting scam emails and details about what to do if you’ve already responded to a phishing scam. More generally, the Cyber Aware site (https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware/home) offers further advice on protecting your accounts and devices.
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