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Spike in Email Scams Linked to Coronavirus

In these very uncertain times the world is experiencing at the moment, when we learn of extreme acts of kindness and communities pulling together, there are still sections of our populations trying to take advantage of the most vulnerable in society and the confusion caused by the coronavirus global pandemic.

The BBC article I've attached here describes five common email scams that have peaked since coronavirus became part of our daily lives. This is a great starting point to help us to inform and protect our colleagues using email as they continue to work from 'home offices' all around the country working from home.

Whilst the NHS, supermarkets and many other front-line workers pull together and pool resources for the greater good, we all need to pull together to help our dispersed work forces to be even more vigilant of the threats to our personal and corporate data from these vile opportunists.

Following continued Government advice, I spoke to my ‘at risk’ elderly parents when lock-down began about the practical considerations of isolation for an extended period, and also warned them about fraudsters and criminals taking advantage by offering help and assistance.

I advised them only to accept offers of practical support from people they know and trust in their locality, and to only open and read emails from people and organisations from whom they were expecting to receive correspondence.

In our professional worlds we need to be equally vigilant as we get distracted by being required to work from home, where our online risks inevitably become higher than ever. Most of our employers will have provided us with the tools to work at home as securely as we do when in the safe and secure office spaces we have previously taken for granted, but we aren't now at the office where we can lean across a desk and ask a colleagues advice on an unusual email.

The guidance is the same as always and I’m sure that as our colleagues continue their new working routines we will continue to support them with awareness training and advice and guidance on how to stay secure; there is some good advice in the BBC article and here are a few other tips for email security as we all adapt to the unknown:

1.     Emails offering money, refunds, tax rebates or similar which appear too good to be true are almost certainly suspicious and you should not click on any attachments

2.     No reputable business or organisation will ever ask you to enter user names, passwords, account details or personal information into a link sent to you via email

3.     Emails appearing to be from organisations or individuals you usually do business with can be checked by picking up the phone to your usual contact to verify authenticity

4.     Check the ‘From’ email address and look for unusual spellings or misspellings that give the email away as highly suspicious; if in doubt verify the email as in 3. above

5.     Beware that many emails and websites you get sent to by clicking on links look just like the real thing; always go to the official websites from another browser window

6.     Make sure that your colleagues have support if they click on a link or receive suspicious emails, by publicising an email address and phone number they can contact easily for assistance.

I hope this short article is helpful; stay safe and secure and only work with trusted organisations particularly in these very uncertain and difficult times.

ukdatasecure can be contacted by emailing .

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