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Another COVID-related lure: Phishing Scam Targeting Email Users

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Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, email users are constantly warned against fraudulent emails and scams. However, a new phishing campaign targeted email users by promising them a government-funded tax cut.

According to think tank Parliament Street, the phishing email appears from the recipient appearing to be a ‘Government Digital Service Team’ which claims a user to offer a rebate of nearly £400.

The email begins with,

“You are getting a Council Tax Reduction (this used to be called Council Tax Benefit) considering you’re on a low income or get benefits,” 

“Total amount of benefits: GBP 385.50. The refunded amount will be transferred directly on your Debit/Credit card. Apply now to claim the reductions made over your past two years of Council Tax payments.”

However, in the subject line, the refund amount stated appears £385.55. This is one of several mistakes that indicates a suspicious recipient. Such mistakes demonstrate an email to be a scam

Parliament Street said that the message is delivered to hundreds of inboxes. As argued by Andy Harcup, Absolute Software VP,

“Since the start of COVID-19, the cyber-threats facing adults in the UK has surged, and this latest attack is one of many which have been designed to prey on individuals’ vulnerability and fear during this trying time,” 

The CEO of Cynance, Stav Pischits added that cybercriminals find it easy to use government text and copy it to create phishing emails.

“All too often, weary workers who are struggling with the financial impact of the COVID-19 outbreak will jump at the chance for a discount or refund like this,” he argued.

“Anyone receiving an email like this should also double check the source address of the sender and carefully examine the communication for typos and errors, often associated with online scams. Failure to do so could put the financial and personal data of the individual and their employer at risk.”

In the first half of this year, a notable increase in phishing scams is seen against which users are warned. The new phishing campaigns are emerging every day and for users, it is crucially important to beware.