BWM managing partner Peter Taaffe says cyber-criminals are using the COVID-19 outbreak as a ‘hook’ to lure people into phishing e-mails and fake websites. Tony McDonough reports
Leading Liverpool accountancy firm BWM is warning about a rise in online scams by fraudsters exploiting the coronavirus.
BWM managing partner Peter Taaffe, whose Liverpool city region client base includes small firms, charities and individuals says cyber-criminals are using the COVID-19 outbreak as a “hook” to lure people into phishing e-mails and fake websites.
They pretend to be from genuine organisations such as the World Health Organisation as well as some malicious coronavirus-themed apps. Their aims are to get malware and viruses onto our devices to steal credentials, access webcams, commit fraud and hold us to ransom.
Mr Taaffe added: “Our advice is always the same – go to the organisations’ genuine website, check the detail of the URL or website address and avoid clicking on links on e-mails and text messages
“The motto is always ‘think before you click’. Don’t rush to give away personal details and don’t assume everything you receive is genuine. As always, any online crimes and frauds need to be reported to Action Fraud – we recommend by phone, especially for ransomware and denial of service attacks which are classed as live cyber crimes.”
Mr Taaffe recommends people check out the resources available from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) which, he says, vital for any business to help stay safe online. He added: “They include guidance on working from home, a scam involving fake maps with coronavirus outbreaks which puts malware on your machine and guidance on updating anti-virus and malware.”
BWM’s staff are mostly working from home but are continuing to provide a full service to their client base. The firm, which is based in Castle Street in Liverpool city centre, has also sent out detailed information to all clients on the Government’s various support packages for businesses.