The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Been the Perfect Time for Fraudsters to Take Advantage
Businesses in the UK are being targeted by fraudsters more than ever before, with businesses being the most brutal hit. This has especially been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the wake of the pandemic, scammers have had unprecedented opportunities. With more people than ever trading online during the lockdown, fraudsters have more options to exploit, such as creating malicious domains, phishing scams, fake website usage.
In the past few years, there have been several scams where fraudsters have used malicious domains to fall people into scamming traps. Businesses have been reacting to this in many ways by using tools such as domain monitoring services to help protect both their brand and customers and react to the threat of typosquatting.
These services help monitor the registration status of suspicious domains that might be pretending to be an authentic brand. Slight variations of domain registrations could include additional characters, spelling typos, or extra keywords added.
The Rise in Cost of Fraud during COVID-19
There are many reasons for this dramatic rise, but the most likely cause is that more people are working from home. As a result, fraudsters have more opportunities to target businesses through phishing emails and other methods.
So what types of scams are being reported the most?
- Dating Scams
People who spend more time at home are turning to dating apps searching for companionship during this Covid outbreak. The slew of new members has led some scammers into action too.
Scammers use dating sites and apps to create fake profiles, often using stolen images and videos from real people. They then start conversations with their victims, building up trust over a period of time before asking for money. Thanks to the Tinder Swindler show on Netflix, we also know just how much this is a common occurrence!
Action Fraud stated that over the past 12 months, dating scams accounted for 2% of all incidents for just 2% of all incidents that were reported and that the average cost to victims was approximately £10,000.
- Scams involving phishing
Typically, phishing is a form of fraud that involves sending emails or texts pretending to be from a legitimate organization. The links in these messages are usually designed to steal your personal information, such as your login details or banking information.
While phishing scams have been around for many years, they have become increasingly sophisticated in recent months. Many of the phishing emails that are being sent out at the moment contain links to COVID-19-related websites.
These websites are designed to look like legitimate government or health organization sites, but they are fake.
- Fake Vaccine Shops
There has been a big surge in the number of fake online shops selling fake vaccines. Fraudsters are setting up fake websites and social media accounts that claim to be marketing vaccines.
The Guardian reported that one fake website was selling COVID-19 vaccine certificates” for £25 and that there have been more than 1,200 the UK and worldwide vendors doing similar things.
- Charity Fraud
Fraudsters can set up fake charities to exploit people’s generosity. These fraudsters will often contact people by phone or email, asking for donations to support their work.
They may also set up fake websites and social media accounts, using images of real people in need to make their appeal seem more legitimate.
Scammers will often use similar-sounding names to legitimate charities, or they may create fake logos and websites that look very similar to those of real charities. People need to consider their charity donations carefully before committing to making a payment.
With COVID-19 being so scary, it’s no wonder people are trying to take advantage of others. Unfortunately, this is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg, and we can expect to see many more scams emerging in the coming months.
As a result, you must understand the risks and be wary of unsolicited emails and texts, even if they seem to be from a reputable organization. Never click on links or attachments in emails or text from people you don’t know, and never give out personal information or financial details to someone you don’t know.