In this blog, with online applications now in full swing, Peter Lannon (Cyber Protection Adviser) explains the importance of not handing over any information requested by email unless you are absolutely certain of the source of the email and trust it entirely.
Cyber criminals have been quick to take advantage of the ongoing pandemic by switching their fraudster tactics to Covid-19 themed scams. HMRC has previously been targeted by this as people sought funds from whatever source they could and were so tricked into giving away personal information and banking details. As such, it should come as no surprise that as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) goes live, there has been a flurry of phishing emails sent out to businesses in an attempt to defraud them.
Within 30 minutes of launching the CJRS application form online, approximately 67,000 claims had been applied for with over 140,000 companies applying for the scheme on its first day. This has an estimated price tag of £1 billion attached to it. Small wonder that it is a tempting target for scammers. The scams are preying on those who have applied for the scheme, requesting some additional information to access the funds such as bank details.
As always, you should be suspicious of handing over any information requested by email unless you are absolutely certain of the source of the email and trust it entirely. You can see more information about how to recognise these scams and what to do if you have been caught out by them in our Covid-19 phishing advice found here.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is now accepting reports for suspicious emails. If you believe you have received a phishing email, you should forward it to email@example.com where it will be assessed and, if deemed to be a scam, will be dealt with appropriately. The NCSC has had some recent successes with this, removing over 2,000 online Covid-19 scams in the last month.
If you are concerned about this and would like some specific advice on how to protect yourself and your business please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.