Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been lost to scams relating to coronavirus in the past month, according to Action Fraud.
Since February, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has identified 21 reports of fraud where coronavirus was mentioned, with victim losses totalling over £800,000.
Of the 21 reports, 10 were made by victims that attempted to purchase protective face masks from fraudulent sellers. 1 victim reported losing over £15,000 when they purchased face masks that were never delivered.
Action Fraud has received multiple reports about coronavirus-themed phishing emails attempting to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial information.
A spokesperson or Action Fraud said:
“One common tactic used by fraudsters is to contact potential victims over email purporting to be from research organisation’s affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“They claim to be able to provide the recipient with a list of coronavirus infected people in their area. In order to access this information, the victim needs to click on a link, which leads to a malicious website, or is asked to make a payment in Bitcoin.”
Reporting numbers are expected to rise as the virus continues to spread across the world.