‘Covid-19 tax refund’ scam email warning

Warnings have been made about scams during the coronavirus crisis. Pictire: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Warnings have been made about scams during the coronavirus crisis. Pictire: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Members of the public are being targeted by criminals trying to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis by sending out emails pretending to be from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Known as phishing scams, either emails or phonecalls appear to be from a trustworthy group - but are really from somebody looking to steal valuable information, such as bank details.

Ipswich-based cyber security experts, SimpleClick, have warned people to be extra vigilant as there have been multiple reports of phishing scams including a ‘Covid-19 tax refund’ email which looks like it was sent from HMRC.

MORE: Firm making vital PPE calls on government to fund productionPhishing scams can lead to people or businesses losing huge sums of money.

They can lead to bank details being stolen or, in the case of a business, lead to customer data being stolen.

This could result in customers losing trust in the company which may face large fines being imposed under GDPR.

According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, almost half of UK businesses have suffered a cyber attack or security breach in the past 12 months.

SimpleClick says businesses and individuals should be cautious when looking at emails.

Most Read

It advises that if something seems a even little off, it is best to delete the email.

It also recommends that all businesses make sure their online security measures are up to date.

Find all of our coronavirus coverage here.

Richard Jennis, managing director at SimpleClick, said businesses should not use ‘off the shelf’ tools to make their websites.

He said: “The majority of websites are built using well-known programs such as WordPress, Wix, and Joomla, which are fantastic when you want to build an online presence efficiently and economically.

“There are multiple security plug-ins and extensions available to you but these need to be updated frequently, and most hackers have the ability to manipulate the code to their advantage.

“With a bespoke system, the coding used is unique to that website.

“This makes it a much less attractive target for hackers and spammers, because the code isn’t readily available to download and explore.”

Keep up-to-date with the latest news about coronavirus in Suffolk by joining our Facebook group or subscribing to our daily newsletter and podcast.