Phishing Emails – Coronavirus

2 minutes to read

Business and individuals warned to watch out for phishing emails during Coronavirus pandemic.

We are warning business and individuals to watch out for the increasing number of phishing emails that are targeting people anxious about the Coronavirus pandemic.

The technique is already a concern with criminal gangs sending bogus links to entice recipients to supply personal details, financial information or worse convince someone to make a payment.

According to Baracuda Networks, these kinds of emails have spiked by over 600% since the end of February 2020 as cyber criminals look to capitalise on the fear and uncertainty surrounding the COVID -19 outbreak.

Fraudsters are even going one step further with a phenomenon called ‘deepfake audio’ which uses manipulation software to mimic a person’s voice in order to arrange money transfers and other transactions.

Annalise Lovett, Partner at Newby Castleman’s Loughborough office said, “This is an increasingly worrying trend that businesses must take seriously. 

“The likelihood of victims being able to recover any losses is minimal so we are encouraging all businesses to advise their staff accordingly, especially as they are likely presently home working and normal routines and working processes will be compromised.

“The good news is by observing some very simple guidance the chance of falling foul of these fraudsters can be significantly minimised.”

Our advice is as follows:

If you get a scam email you should forward it to 

  1. Query it: Query any communication that is asking for personal information, financial details or payment requests by calling the supposed sender on the telephone, making sure you dial a number you have already used in the past.
  2. Does it sound right?: Look out for generic phrases or language that just doesn’t sound like the usual way your contacts would ordinarily interact with you. Phishing emails also often use poor grammar and have spelling mistakes.
  3. Email domain: Check out the email domain and compare it to legitimate ones you might have already in your inbox.
  4. Put a process in place: Agree a process with your finance department or accounts team to make sure there are some ground rules during this period of time when normal processes are being disrupted.
  5. Attachments: If there is an attachment don’t open it. Alarm bells should be ringing if you receive an unexpected email with a suspicious attachment.
  6. Does it make you panic?: If the email is written in a way that makes you feel compelled to act, take a moment before you do anything.
  7. Contact HMRC: HMRC has published advice that is being updated regularly in order to remind business what to look out for in order to identify fake communications and if in doubt call them.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with your usual Newby Castleman LLP contact.