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The Risks of Working From Home

You may be aware of the potential problems with staff working from home and the increasing issues of cyber crimes with criminals taking advantage of the lack of Firewalls and launching various fraud and phishing campaigns etc at this present time.

Since February 2020, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has identified 105 reports of fraud where coronavirus or COVID-19 was mentioned, with victim losses totalling over £970,000.

The majority of reports are related to online shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser and other products which have never arrived. One victim reported losing over £15K when they purchased face masks that were never delivered. Reporting numbers are expected to rise as the virus continues to spread across the world.

They have also received over 200 reports of coronavirus themed phishing emails attempting to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial information.

Some of the tactics being used in phishing emails include:

Fraudsters purporting to be from a research group that mimic the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO).

Fraudsters providing articles about the virus outbreak with a link to a fake company websites.

Fraudsters sending investment scheme and trading advice.

Fraudsters purporting to be from HMRC offering a tax refund.

Make sure you protect yourself during this time, don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details. Always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats.

If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know or trust, carry out some research first and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. Where possible, use a credit card to make the payment as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.

When we think of ‘cyber-crime’, we might imagine sophisticated plots by highly skilled computer experts, designed to wreak havoc against the state and big business. We may assume it is something that happens to other people and that we, as individuals or small businesses, are unlikely to attract the interest of a cyber-criminal.

However, the reality is that cybercrime is not the preserve of the technical expert. Many attacks are unsophisticated and are carried out by people with only basic technical knowledge. Attacks can be indiscriminate or targeted specifically at individuals.

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