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COVID-19 fraud watch

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The Fraud Advisory Panel have set up a COVID-19 fraud watch group which is a cross-sector and cross-industry coalition of trusted partners (including the Cabinet Office and City of London Police) who meet weekly to share information on emerging fraud threats and trends affecting business. It aims to act as a conduit to warn the public, private and third sectors about COVID-19 fraud risks and the preventative actions that can be taken.

Latest update

Issued: Thursday 25 June

CURRENT COVID-19 FRAUD RISKS

  • Conveyancing fraud
  • Bank account takeover fraud
  • Fake COVID-19 contact tracing apps
  • Ransomware
  • Investment and pension frauds
  • Insider fraud (esp. disclosure of internal processes to facilitate fraud)
  • Phishing emails (esp. government departments)
  • Business email compromise.

ANTICIPATED AND/OR EMERGING ISSUES

  • Fraudsters that have harvested personal and company data during the COVID-19 crisis could start using this data to target banks, credit card companies, building societies, and insurance companies in the coming months.
  • There are concerns in the current crisis that fraudsters could begin to inflate property prices to gain access to finance.
  • It is anticipated that there will be an increase in investment and pension frauds as the pandemic comes to an end.

SOME SIMPLE PREVENTATIVE TIPS …

  • You can report phishing emails to the National Cyber Security Centre by forwarding the email to report@phishing.gov.uk.
  • If you receive a fraudulent text message, you can report it directly to your mobile phone provider free of charge by forwarding the text message to 7726.
  • When considering an investment opportunity it is important to conduct due diligence.
    • Check whether a company is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority here.
    • The Financial Conduct Authority have issued guidance, available here.
    • The Pensions regulator have also issued guidance, available here.
  • Always use a familiar method to verify new or a change of bank details before a payment is made, for example a previously used telephone number. Contact details contained within an email and PDF invoices can be altered.
    • The Fraud Advisory Panel have issued a helpsheet on invoice fraud, available here.
  • The Law Society have guidance on their website relating to property fraud, available here.
  • The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in partnership with the Internet Advertising Bureau have launched a new scam ad alerting system, available here.

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