Latest Scams

Information about the latest scams




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COVID-19 NHS TEST AND TRACE SCAMS

Here's what to look out for it you think an NHS Test and Trace call or message could be fake.

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EASYJET CYBER BREACH

easyJet have announced they suffered a cyber breach in January where customer data was stolen. Click here to find out more.

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JOHN HOPKINS EMAIL SCAM

Microsoft has put out a warning about an email phishing campaign that started earlier this month. The emails appear to come from John Hopkins Centre and are related to COVID-19. Click here to find out more.

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LATEST SCAMS

Government Impersonation

On 24th March the UK Government sent the entire nation a SMS regarding Covid19. The message was unexpected and contained a link to the exceptions from staying at home.

Criminals have already started to copy this type of message.  There is one offering an opportunity to apply for ‘Covid19 Relief’ with a link to a fake website which requires you to enter your personal details.  There is another one that offers a tax refund.

WHO Impersonation

Hackers pretending to represent the World Health Organization (WHO) claim that an attached document details how recipients can prevent the disease's spread.

"This little measure can save you," they claim.

The attachment doesn't contain any useful advice, and instead infects computers with malicious software called AgentTesla Keylogger.   This records every keystroke and sends it to the attackers, a tactic that allows them to monitor their victims' every move online.

To avoid this scam, be wary of emails claiming to be from WHO, as they are probably fake. Instead visit its official website or social media channels for the latest advice.

Dr Carlos Gerrado

There has been an email with the subject line “Confidential Cure Solution on Corona virus“ purporting to be from a Dr Carlos Gerrado claiming to have details about a vaccine being covered up by the Chinese and UK governments. 

People who click on the attached document are taken to a spoof webpage designed to harvest login details. It says up to 200,000 of the emails are being sent at a time. 

The best way to see where a link will take you is to hover your mouse cursor over it to reveal the true web address. If it looks dodgy, don't click it.

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Impersonation

There has been an email circulating with the subject line “Covid-19 - now airborne, increased community transmission.”  It uses one of the organisation's legitimate email addresses but has in fact been sent via a spoofing tool.

The link directs victims to a fake Microsoft login page, where people are encouraged to enter their email and password. Then victims are redirected to the real CDC advice page, making it seem even more authentic. Of course, the hackers now have control of the email account.

One way to protect yourself is to enable two-factor authentication, so that you have to enter a code texted or otherwise provided to you, to access your email account.

There is another email with the subject line ”Donate here to help the fight” which also appears to come from the Centre for Disease Control asking for donations to develop a vaccine, and requests payments be made in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. 

The premise is ridiculous but the email address and signature look convincing.

SIM Swap Fraud

This increasingly common type of fraud exploits a mobile phone service provider's ability to seamlessly port a telephone number to a device containing a different subscriber identity module (SIM). This feature is normally used when a customer has lost or had their phone stolen or is switching service to a new phone.

The scam begins with a fraudster gathering personal details about the victim, either by phishing emails, by buying them from organised criminals or psychologically manipulating the victim (social engineering).

Once the fraudster has obtained these details, they then contact the victim's mobile telephone provider. The fraudster uses the same social engineering techniques to convince the telephone company to port the victim's phone number to the fraudster's SIM. This is done, for example, by impersonating the victim using personal details to appear authentic and claiming that they have lost their phone.

In many cases SIM numbers are changed directly by telecom company employees bribed by criminals.

Once this happens the victim's phone will lose connection to the network and the fraudster will receive all the SMS and voice calls intended for the victim. This allows the fraudster to intercept any one-time passwords sent via text or telephone calls sent to the victim, and thus to circumvent any security features of accounts (be they bank accounts, social media accounts, etc.) that rely on text messages or telephone calls.

Here are some clues that you might be the victim of a SIM swap scam:

•The first sign of a SIM-swap attack is receiving notifications from your provider that your phone number or SIM card has been activated elsewhere.

•If you have the proper settings enabled, you may receive notifications or email alerts that important profile data—such as passwords, pin numbers, security questions —for your service provider and other accounts has been changed or that logins were made (or attempted) from unrecognized locations or devices.

•Another sign is being unable to send or receive texts and phone calls. Once your phone number has been activated elsewhere, the device it was previously tied to becomes inert.

•Be on the alert if someone says your social media or email has been hacked.  If you’re able to still log in despite an apparent hack, change your login and contact info asap. Otherwise you’ll need to contact customer service.

•If you’ve suddenly been signed out of all your apps and various other accounts and can’t log back in, that’s an obvious sign of some kind of identity theft.

•Fraud alerts from your financial institutions will probably be intercepted by the hacker but if you are getting alerts or notice anything suspicious, contact your bank.

The faster you react to these signs of a SIM swap – calling your mobile phone provider, your bank and changing all passwords -  the better your chances are of mitigating the severity of the hack.

FRAUD AND CYBERCRIME PROTECTION

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