National fraud picture - Based on figures released by Action Fraud, the first fraud report relating to Coronavirus, or COVID-19, was received on 9 February. There were 20 more reports that month. Since then, there have been 46 reports between 1 March and 13 March, 38 reports in just four days (14 – 18 March) and 84 reports between 19 and 22 March. Phishing attempts- Action Fraud have also received over 1,000 reports of coronavirus-themed phishing attempts – the majority of which are emails. These communications try to trick people into opening malicious attachments which could lead to fraudsters stealing people’s personal information, email logins and passwords, and banking details. These include: Fraudsters purporting to be from a research group that mimic the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO). They claim to provide the victim with a list of active infections in their area but to access this information the victim needs to either: click on a link which redirects them to a credential-stealing page; or make a donation of support in the form of a payment into a Bitcoin account. Fraudsters providing articles about the virus outbreak with a link to a fake company website where victims are encouraged to click to subscribe to a daily newsletter for further updates. Fraudsters sending investment scheme and trading advice encouraging people to take advantage of the coronavirus downturn. Fraudsters purporting to be from HMRC offering a tax refund and directing victims to a fake website to harvest their personal and financial details. The emails often display the HMRC logo making it look reasonably genuine and convincing. We have also had reports of people receiving similar text messages. You can see examples of these phishing emails here. Take care! Stay well.