Combatting Covid Fraud: both doorstep and on-line: clarifying the sources of guidance

The problems are both on-line and offline

The UK is apparently the number one target for covid-related on-line fraud . Meanwhile doorstep fraudsters are targeting those who do not go on-line  with “testing”  and “decontamination”  services.

NCSC is the UK “authority” for on-line security guidance

The National Cybercrime Security Centre (NCSC) is the UK national “authority”. It is providing guidance and highlighting recent cases, usually taken from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. Action Fraud , the UK fraud reporting service, has a similar news section .

The NCSC supports local police forces with guidance and updates via the Regional Organised Crime Units. These, along with the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police, form the “Protect” Network. The relevant websites and contact points are on the NCSC ROCU contact page.

Get Safe On-line is the most comprehensive single source

The leading UK source of on-line safety guidance is Get Safe On-Line This was created as a Government-Industry partnership a decade ago by Cabinet Office to provide guidance for consumers and small firms. GSOL has a Covid Specific link  which leads to a list of related scams  as well as to pages relating mainstream guidance to the current situation: e.g. that on keeping children safe on-line.

The main UK sources of child safety guidance include:

The NSPCC special page on corona issues . This is additional to its normal guidance, including that regarding on-line safety .

the UK Safer Internet Centre has nothing specific to Covid but a wealth of relevant materials.

London Grid for Learning . LGfL supports most schools in London and many across the rest of the UK. LGfL has been able to agree licensing arrangements to make available most of their material, designed for use by the schools and local authorities they support, available to all schools and also to parents organising home learning at no charge.

But the fraudsters are also on your doorstep

The most readable guidance covering both On-line and Doorstep fraud is probably that from the Consumer Association: The Which Guide to Corona Virus scams and how to spot them and stop them .And your phone

“This is Money” has carried a specific warning regarding fake text messages purporting to come from your Bank, HMRC, the NHS or WHO 

For Londoners

For Londoners, the Metropolitan Police warning  and its Covid fraud awareness campaign  use its volunteers  and network of Safer Neighbourhood Partnerships to distribute the
“The Little Book of Big Scams”. Copies of this can be downloaded from their advice website

And there is more to come

As yet there is no material covering attempts to spoof on-line tracking apps. That from the Kings, Guys and St Thomas’s consortium  now has 1.5 million users  and is said to be growing rapidly. The fraudsters will not be able to resist targeting such large audiences.

Many of the recommended “signs” for recognising a phishing attack no longer work. Those working from home for large organisations are particularly vulnerable to responding to e-mails that appear to come from some-one in their organisation’s personnel or procurement regarding expenses arrangements or authentication processes for those working from home. These will become more sphisitcated. The main discussion group for corporate guidance on such issues is the Security Awareness Special Internet Group.

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