WARNING: Fraudulent phishing emails on the rise due to coronavirus

Numerous sources have reported that fraudulent emails targeting businesses have risen dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, with ICAEW reporting on attacks that occurred within just 24 hours of the launch of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on Monday 20 April (with phishing emails claiming to be from HMRC’s chief executive Jim Harra requesting bank details – see ICAEW’s article here).

Unfortunately, due to the severity of the coronavirus situation, many businesses will be vulnerable at this time and as a result, cyber attacks of this kind are expected to become more frequent.

We advise all of our clients to remain vigilant and think twice before responding to an email, clicking a link or opening an attachment that looks suspicious (or maybe even responding to an email which looks credible but is requesting personal information such as bank account details) to avoid being scammed.

Some things to look out for when identifying a fraudulent email:

– Requests for sensitive information (things like bank details aren’t typically requested via email – submitting information to HMRC should always be done via their online portals, rather than by clicking a link in an email)

– Spelling / grammar errors

– A suspicious email address that doesn’t match the sender’s name

– Attachments

For those who receive a suspicious email and are concerned, there is now a reporting service available for members of the public to forward any questionable emails for investigation. The email address for this service is report@phishing.gov.uk (further details of this service can be found on the ICAEW’s article here).

If you have any concerns or require further advice, please speak to your usual PM+M contact or get in touch on 01254 679131 or via email at enquiries@pmm.co.uk.

 

This information is correct as of 22 April 2020. This blog is for general guidance only. Recipients should not act upon any of the information provided without seeking specific professional advice tailored to your circumstances, requirements or needs. Please contact PM+M before making any decisions based on any matters relating to this blog.

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