5/6/21: Over 5 Million Suspicious Emails Reported
Phishing remains the most successful attack vector for cyber criminals targeting individuals and businesses.
Cyber criminals love phishing. Unfortunately, this is not a harmless riverbank pursuit. When criminals go phishing, you are the fish and the bait is usually contained in a scam email or text message. The criminal’s goal is to convince you to click on the links within their scam email or text message, or to give away sensitive information (such as bank details). These messages may look like the real thing but are malicious. Once clicked, you may be sent to a dodgy website which could download viruses onto your computer, or steal your passwords.
As of 30 April 2021, over 5.8 million emails were reported to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service. The tool, which was launched by the National Cyber Security Centre and the City of London Police last April, allows the public to forward suspicious emails to an automated system that scans it for malicious links. Since its launch, over 43,000 scams and 84,000 malicious websites have been removed.
What are the most common phishing scams?
The most commonly spoofed organisation reported in phishing emails was TV Licensing, with victims of these emails reporting losses totalling £5.3M. The majority of losses occurred as a result of victims following malicious links in the emails and inputting their personal information into what they thought was the legitimate TV Licensing website. Shortly after, they would receive a call from criminals impersonating bank staff who were able to convince them that their bank accounts were compromised and persuaded them to transfer all of their money to a new ‘safe’ account. Some of the other most commonly impersonated organisations included HMRC and DVLA. We also received more than 40,000 suspicious email reports relating to COVID-19.
How you can protect yourself from phishing messages
Fake emails and text messages can sometimes be difficult to spot and criminals are constantly getting better at finding ways to make them seem more authentic. Email address spoofing, for example, is just one of the tactics criminals will use to try and make their fake emails look real. Here are some tips you should follow to protect yourself, and others, from scam emails and text messages:
For more information on how to protect yourself from fraud and cyber crime, please visit: actionfraud.police.uk.
Message Sent By Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)
Action Fraud is warning the public to be vigilant of unsolicited emails promoting cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) investment opportunities. They have received over 750 reports in one week about Bitcoin-related phishing emails that use fake celebrity endorsements to try to lure victims into investment scams. The links in the emails lead to fraudulent websites that are designed to steal your money, as well as personal and financial information.
How you can protect yourself
To see examples of the Bitcoin-related phishing emails that have been reported to Action Fraud, follow Action Fraud on Twitter or Facebook.
Message sent by: Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)