Posted: Wed 22nd Apr 2020

GCHQ has called on the public to report coronavirus related phishing email scams

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Apr 22nd, 2020

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) a branch of the UK intelligence agency GCHQ, is urging the public to report any suspicious emails following a huge spike in COVID-19 scams.
NCSC has launched a ‘Suspicious Email Reporting Service’, which aims to make it easier for the public to forward on suspicious emails such as those claiming to offer services related to coronavirus.
There are concerns criminals are capitalising on increased use of Internet devices due to the lockdown measures. 

The new  [email protected] service builds on the NCSC’s on existing ‘takedown’ services, which have already removed more than 2,000 online campaigns related to coronavirus in the last month, including;

  • 471 fake online shops selling fraudulent coronavirus related items
  • 555 malware distribution sites set up to cause significant damage to any visitors
  • 200 phishing sites seeking personal information such as passwords or credit card details
  • 832 advance-fee frauds where a large sum of money is promised in return for a set-up payment

NCSC Chief Executive Officer Ciaran Martin said:

“Technology is helping us cope with the coronavirus crisis and will play a role helping us out of it – but that means cyber security is more important than ever.

With greater use of technology, there are different ways attackers can harm all of us.

But everyone can help to stop them by following the guidance campaign we have launched today.

But even with the best security in place, some attacks will still get through.

That’s why we have created a new national reporting service for suspicious emails – and if they link to malicious content, it will be taken down or blocked.

By forwarding messages to us, you will be protecting the UK from email scams and cyber crime.”

The Suspicious Email Reporting Service has been co-developed with the City of London Police.

By forwarding any dubious emails – including those claiming to offer support related to COVID-19 – to [email protected], the NCSC’s automated­ programme will immediately test the validity of the site.

Any sites found to be phishing scams will be removed immediately.

As well as taking down malicious sites it will support the police by providing live time analysis of reports and identifying new patterns in online offending – helping them stop even more offenders in their tracks.

If people have lost money, they should tell their bank and report it as a crime to Action Fraud, but the new Suspicious Email Reporting Service will offer an automated service to people who flag what they think to be a suspicious email.

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Unfortunately scammers see these uncertain and worrying times as an opportunity to prey on people. We’re encouraging the public to report any suspicious emails to the NCSC’s new takedown service.

Through our own Scams Action service – made up of a dedicated helpline and special tool which offer advice for people affected by online scams – we see first-hand the devastating impact these terrible crimes have.

This initiative will help take down even more harmful sites, which means fewer victims”.


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