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Cifas weekly coronavirus scam update – Fraudsters target remote workers and dating sites

12 June 2020
  • Remote workers targeted by phishing emails purporting to be from voicemail providers
  • Fraudsters posing as nursing staff on dating sites to scam singletons

Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, is highlighting the latest coronavirus scams from the past week, and warning the public to stay vigilant of the ever-changing tactics that scammers are using to extract money and information.

This week Cifas has been made aware of the following scams:

Voicemail notification phishing scams

Remote workers are being targeted by phishing emails that look like they were generated by PBX, a legacy technology that integrates with employees’ email clients so they can receive their voicemail recordings. Research has found this has threatened nearly 100,000 worldwide mailboxes across multiple sectors. Attachments within these emails direct recipients to a fake landing page used to harvest the personal details of users.

Cifas is reminding people that receive an email asking for personal or financial information to always confirm this with the sender, and never reply or use the contact details provided in these emails.

Fraudsters pose as nurses on dating sites

Cifas understands that criminals are posing as nursing staff on dating sites to scam money out of innocent victims. These fraudsters are building an online relationship with site users in order to ask them for money during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cifas is reminding people never to send money or bank details to someone they’ve met online, no matter how convincing they believe the reason is for needing it or how long they’ve been speaking to them.

Job Advert Scam

The coronavirus crisis has provided fresh opportunities for fraudsters to target those looking for work, by placing fake adverts on legitimate recruitment websites. Victims applying for the role are asked to attend an interview by video conference, and are then sent a business credit card which they are to use to purchase online vouchers and send the voucher codes back their new ‘employer’. Unbeknown to them, this card has been set up using their personal details, but using the fraudsters email address.

Jobseekers are reminded that they should always do their research to make sure a company is legitimate before applying for jobs, and never give personal or financial details during interviews as they could be used for identity theft.

Amazon gift card phishing campaign

A new Amazon phishing campaign has emerged this week offering recipients the chance to win a £1,000 Amazon gift card. The subject reads: ‘On the occasion of overcoming the coronavirus, Amazon gives you the gift of victory’. The senders name is spoofed to read contact@amazon.com, and the recipient is instructed to click on a link in order to apply. This link has been identified as malware.

Cifas is reminding anyone that receives an email, text or WhatsApp message offering a deal similar to this to delete it immediately, and never share personal or financial details – even if a request appears to be legitimate.

Storage pod fraud

Intelligence received by Cifas this week has revealed that over 580 storage pods have fraudulently applied for the business rates relief grants currently being offered by the government to support businesses during the coronavirus. These pods are not classed as businesses and are investments linked to personal pension plans, and so fall outside of the grant scheme.

More details about the financial support being offered to businesses during coronavirus are available on the GOV.UK website here.

Amber Burridge, Head of Fraud Intelligence for Cifas, said: ‘Criminals continue to use a variety of tactics to target unsuspecting victims, and so it is important that people continue to think carefully before responding to unsolicited calls, texts or emails, and always challenge requests for personal or financial information.

‘It is essential that we all continue to remain vigilant of fraud, and work together to spread the word to stop fraudsters taking advantage at this difficult time.’

Anyone that believes they have been the victim of a scam should contact their bank or financial service provider immediately and report the fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk.

ENDS

For more information contact:

Corinne Gladstone
Head of Communications, Cifas
T: +44 (0)20 3004 3654
E: corinne.gladstone@cifas.org.uk

Notes to editors

Cifas has a webpage dedicated to giving advice on coronavirus fraud and the latest scams here

For more advice on preventing fraud visit the Take Five website.

About Cifas

Cifas is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation that protects businesses and individuals through effective and secure data and intelligence sharing between the private, public and third sectors. In 2018, Cifas member organisations prevented over £1.4 billion of fraud losses.

Cifas data is included in the Office of National Statistics England and Wales Crime Statistics of police recorded crime and works alongside law enforcement agencies in tackling fraud.

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Posted by: Cifas Press Team
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Posted by: Cifas Press Team

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