Warning as Britons lose £3million in coronavirus scams since lockdown began

Coronavirus lockdown measures have allowed cybercriminals to exploit unsuspecting Britons, robbing them of money and personal information. Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber reporting service, said a total of £3,534,983 had been scammed out of victims in coronavirus-related scams. The organisation stated the money had been lost by 1,713 victims who faced the cruel attacks through various means.


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Phishing emails, where cybercriminals attempt to obtain sensitive personal details, seemed popular, with 7,796 reports received by the service.

It appears criminals are continuing to use the uncertainty of lockdown to defraud innocent Britons up and down the country. 

The service has also highlighted a number of other fraud related crimes, demonstrating  the various areas of life where Britons could potentially fall victim. 

A recent report suggested animal lovers, who were kindly looking to give puppies and kitten a home had been defrauded out of nearly £300,000 in two months. 

Action Fraud stated 669 people lost a combined total of £282,686 when putting down deposits to purchase pets that end up to be fake advertisements.

Another area cybercriminals are targeting is TV Licensing.

Many Britons have reported a common scam circulating which offers people a free TV Licence, under the guise of being a ‘COVID-19 Personalised Offer’.

The organisation states links in these fraudulent emails often look genuine, but can harvest personal and financial information easily. 

In another case, Tesco and Morrisons shoppers have been targeted with scam emails purporting to be official free grocery vouchers – however, both are fraudulent. 

Several people have even taken to social media to share their experience of coming across fraudsters.

One wrote: “I’m so desperate after losing my job to coronavirus, that I was almost successfully scammed by a fake account.

“Normally, I’m much more sceptical and pay much closer attention to detail.”

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Another said: “I received my first phishing email today! Please be extra careful out there before you click anything in emails.”

At the end of April, Action Fraud stated 1,072 victims had lost more than £2million.

This shows that scams are continuing to proliferate in Britain, and that people should continue to be on guard.

Action Fraud have therefore renewed their urgent advise to Britons to take heed of scams online, through phone or via email.

They urged Britons to keep all personal details to themselves, and to avoid transferring money if requested.

However, the fight back against fraudulent sites is continuing.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in conjunction with Action Fraud, revealed the public have flagged more than 160,000 messages to the new suspicious email reporting service run by the NCSC.

Commenting on fraud, Commander Karen Baxter, at the National Lead Force for Fraud, City of London Police, said: “While the world is coming together to combat this global health crisis, criminals are intent on exploiting our unease, anxiety and vulnerabilities in these unprecedented times.

“The fact the public have taken the opportunity to fight back and show these criminals how unacceptable this is, is fantastic.

“Fraud is an incredibly underreported crime. The more the police know about fraud, and fraud attempts, the better chance they have of tracking down those responsible and bringing them to justice.”

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