The coronavirus had brought another issue on the spotlight; cyber fraud. Fraudsters are using COVID-19 to take advantage of vulnerable people, with Action Fraud UK highlighting that they are criminals urging people to invest.
In October’s Be Cyber Aware at Sea, Phish and Ships alerts seafarers of scams while at sea. Robocalls, emails, text messages and social media ads are being used to push health advice, speedy money transfers whilst away onboard, online shopping and more.
Some scams that seafarers may come across are:
- Charity sponsorship campaigns raising money for victims of Covid-19.
- Fake government grants, loans and relief packages. The emails contain links for stealing personal and financial information.
- Pop-up ads selling everything from fake cures for Covid-19 to selling puppies and kittens due to the stay-at-home requirements increasing the demand for pets.
- Holiday scams capitalizing on the demand for cheap deals in 2021 and also fake guidance from tour operators for repatriation help due to Covid-19.
Therefore, it is advised to be aware of the risks arising and always double check before parting with any money or personal information.
Get good at ignoring! It’s not always easy to report scams, however if you suspect it’s a fake, it’s ok to ignore or refuse requests. Criminals are very clever in rushing victims and creating panic.
Another way to be vigilant, is to be on high alert for misspelled emails and messages, heavily discounted products and services, impromptu telephone calls with urgent requests.
Moreover, it is recommended to waste the scammers time. Always call back the registered phone number of a company if asked to transfer funds. There have been over 2,000 online coronavirus scams taken down by the UK NCSC – it’s lucrative and the scammers want quick wins.
Educate yourself. There’s plenty of free and engaging tools to help you understand more.