We have all no doubt seen the news reports about those taking advantage of the scared and vulnerable during this time. This is a very real threat that we must guard ourselves and others against. Here, in our fourth and final blog in our security series, we outline some of the risks to watch out for and how to avoid them.
The MHRA Enforcement team based in the UK and UK Border Force found 871,616 doses of unlicensed medicines valued at £2.6m. As a result, 294 websites and 1031 social media adverts online offering medicines illegally have had to be taken down.
As of 4th April, more than 500 Covid-19 related scams and over 2000 phishing attempt have been reported. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau calculates total losses up to £1.6 million to those targeted.
Masks have also been advertised for extortionate prices and it cannot be guaranteed if they are rated to the standard required. One victim is said to have paid £15,000 for face masks, which as expected in hindsight, did not arrive.
The UK Government recently quoted in March 2020 that ‘..in the UK the MHRA Enforcement team and colleagues from UK Border Force found 871,616 doses of unlicensed medicines with a value of £2.6m and additionally took down 294 websites and removed 1031 social media adverts online offering medicines illegally.’
- Don’t rush into replying to emails, SMS or social media links that ask you to reply with information. Challenge the content and assume it is fraudulent until you can prove it legitimate. Rushing you into making a decision quick or through a ‘bargain’ offer is a common tactic to persuading you to sign up to ‘their’ deal. If you do however click too quickly, and feel you have made a big mistake, don’t forget to contact your bank immediately.
- Websites advertising outside of the legal supply chain may appear to be genuine, however they are breaking the law – and may end up with you becoming the real victim! Stick to your appointed doctor for medicines.
- Take Five to Stop Fraud is a national campaign that offers advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/
- The National Crime Agency has advice on specific fraud and scams during Covid-19. Including Online Shopping & Auction Fraud, Computer Software Service Fraud, Lender Loan Fraud, Pension Liberation Fraud, Investment Fraud and Mandate Fraud. https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/fraud-scams-covid19
Action Fraud reporting can be accessed at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
CYBER & INFOSEC THREATS
There has been an increase in webpage registration relating to COVID-19. The National Cyber Security Centre have revealed a range of attacks are taking place online as cyber criminals seek to exploit COVID-19. Criminals are taking advantage of the new cyber environment. The fact that more and more of us are working from home and dependent upon IT communications, means we are more vulnerable than ever before.