Public is urged to report coronavirus scams
and live on Freeview channel 276
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has warned of criminals increasingly looking to use the coronavirus pandemic as a way to scam people.
In response, the centre has launched a Cyber Aware campaign, offering a range of general online safety advice to UK internet users, including tips on how to protect passwords, accounts and devices.
Alongside it, the NCSC has also launched its Suspicious Email Reporting Service, which will allow people to forward emails they believe to be scams to the centre for analysis and further action.
It has been co-developed with the City of London Police, and users can forward emails to [email protected], and the NCSC’s automated- program will immediately test the validity of any linked site.
The centre says it will build on its existing takedown services, which have removed more than 2,000 scams related to coronavirus in the last month, including over 450 fake online shops selling fraudulent Covid-19 related items and other scams.
A number of consumer organisations and agencies have warned of an increase in cyber crime looking to take advantage of fears around the Covid-19 outbreak.A recent survey by TSB suggested that 42% of people believe they have been targeted by a bogus email since the outbreak began.
NCSC chief executive 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.”
As part of the campaign, the centre has also updated its online database of security information with new guidance on the secure use of video conferencing services.
Video calling platforms have become increasingly popular since lockdown measures were introduced, as millions turned to them communicate with colleagues while working from home, and stay in touch with friends and family.
The new guidance encourages users to place a strong, unique password on their account and always track who is joining a call. It also recommends not making meetings public, connecting only to people through your contacts or address book and never posting a call link or password publicly.
Security Minister James Brokenshire said: “Criminals are seeking to exploit our greater use of emails, video conferencing and other technologies for their advantage.
“It’s despicable that they are using the coronavirus outbreak as cover to try to scam and steal from people in their homes. We all have a part to play in seeing they don’t succeed.
“I encourage everyone to follow the Cyber Aware advice and to use the Suspicious Email Reporting Service. They provide important new ways in which we can protect ourselves as well as our families and businesses.”
A message from the Editorial Director, Gillian Parkinson:
Thank you for reading this story on our website.
But I also have an urgent plea to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality local news on this free-to-read site and in print, please purchase a copy of our newspaper as well.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on our town centres and many of our valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you buying a copy when you pop out for your essential shop or subscribing for delivery.
Our journalists are highly trained by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards anywhere in the world. Our content is universally trusted - as all independent research proves.
As Baroness Barran said in a House of Lords debate this week on the importance of journalists: "Not only are they a trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role."
But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. In return we will continue to forensically cover the local news - not only the impact of the virus but all the positive and uplifting news happening in these dark days.
We thank all our readers and advertisers for their understanding and support - and we wish YOU all the best in the coming weeks. Keep safe, and follow the Government advice. Thank you.
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE:
You can subscribe for delivery by contacting us at [email protected] or calling us on 0330 4033004 for details of a participating newsagent near you.