Public Embraces Email Reporting Service Created After Spike In Coronavirus-Related Scams

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) launched the pioneering ‘Suspicious Email Reporting Service’ in April to make it easier than ever to flag suspicious emails – including those claiming to offer services related to coronavirus.

As part of the Cyber Aware campaign, the NCSC successfully launched its suspicious email reporting service, resulting dozens of malicious web campaigns shut down in its first day after a spike in coronavirus phishing scams.

• More than 80 malicious web campaigns were taken down in a day after 5,000 suspicious emails were flagged to the new cyber service for investigation within a day of its launch
• The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre experts had seen a growth in the use of fake coronavirus-related services in malicious emails tricking people into online harm
• The NCSC, a part of GCHQ, urged people to flag such campaigns to their new world-leading ‘Suspicious Email Reporting Service’ while launching Cyber Aware
• The campaign teaches six actionable steps to stay safe online as the country continues to rely more on technology while staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

National Cyber Security Centre reveals range of fraudulent sites it has blocked with the help of the British public

Cyber security experts have lifted the lid on some of the online scams which the British public have reported to the pioneering new Suspicious Email Reporting Service.

Emails reported to the National Cyber Security Centre include callous attempts by criminals to exploit the coronavirus through fake offers of face masks and testing kits.

In just over two weeks since the NCSC and police launched the service, the public has passed on more than 160,000 suspect emails, leading to the removal of over 1,400 links to bogus sites.

The NCSC has shared some examples of what it has removed with the help of the reporting service. These include:

  • Scam web pages that have been flagged include mock-ups of official GOV.uk and TV licencing websites. Visitors are lured into giving their billing information to scammers posing as these legitimate organisations.
  • There have also been scam web pages purporting to sell coronavirus linked bogus products such as testing kits, face makes and even vaccines. The NCSC noted a rise in cyber crime exploiting the coronavirus pandemic last month.

The automated email reporting service makes it easier than ever for people to help protect others from falling victim to scams.

To use it, people are asked to simply forward suspect emails to report@phishing.gov.uk. If they are found to link to malicious content, it will be taken down or blocked, helping prevent future victims of crime.

Ciaran Martin, Chief Executive of the NCSC, said:

“This really is a phenomenal response from the British public. I would like to thank them for embracing our reporting service as well as the many organisations which have promoted it.

“While cyber criminals continue to prey on people’s fears, the number of scams we have removed in such a short timeframe shows what a vital role the public can play in fighting back.

“I would urge people to remain vigilant and to forward suspect emails to us. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

Commander Karen Baxter, City of London Police, National Lead Force for Fraud, 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 under-reported 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.”

The service was launched alongside the new cross-governmental Cyber Aware campaign, which promotes six top tips to help keep yourself secure online.

If people have lost money, they should tell their bank and report it as a crime to Action Fraud, but sending emails to report@phishing.gov.uk will offer an automated service to people who flag what they think to be a suspicious email and prevent others from falling victim to these scams.

For additional advice from Sussex Police about fraud and scams please visit https://www.sussex.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/c19/coronavirus-covid-19/fraud-and-scams/.

If you’re interested in joining Neighbourhood Watch, or want to find out more, visit www.sussexnwfed.org.uk or send an email to enquiries@sussexnwfed.org.uk.

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