Fascinating cybercrime statistics show an effect on SMEs

We’ve been regularly reporting a rise in cyber-related fraud, phishing scams and similar attacks and the effect it's having on smaller businesses and charities.

Action Fraud, the reporting body for cyber crime, has logged 3,138 reports of COVID-19-related fraud and 14,545 reports of COVID-19-related phishing. Since the pandemic began, COVID-19 related fraud has made up 2% of all fraud reports made to Action Fraud, with an overall increase in reports of 14% compared to the 2019 weekly average, and 40% higher than compared to the ‘pre-lockdown’ week (w/c 16 March 2020).

What kind of fraud is it? Currently, the most common threats that could affect small businesses include;

1. Online shopping

2. Investment fraud

3. HMRC email scams, where recipients are asked to click on a link to check if they’re eligible for a government coronavirus grant.

The senders are spoofing email addresses and names, using '' and ‘HMRevenue & Customs’ to try and dupe busy readers. A second HMRC-related email scam asks for recipients’ personal details to participate in a ‘coronavirus job retention scheme’.

Action Fraud have also reported a number of scam emails offering relief funds related to COVID-19. The most recent has targeted Microsoft email account holders, claiming to be from a senior director at Microsoft. Another recent email scam purported to offer £12.5 million in relief funds for individuals to ‘purchase and distribute relief materials for the control of Covid-19’ in their region.