Coronavirus: cybersecurity and scams

30th March 2020

Dear colleagues,

As we come to terms with working under these unusual conditions we should be mindful that the threat from cyber criminals attempt to extort information for financial gain remains an ever-present one.

Indeed, cyber criminals are leveraging the current unusual situation we find ourselves and presenting fishing attempts with a COVD-19 theme. Please remember any guidance provided around phishing attempts.

Example of a common scam attempt.


Recognising a phishing email:

  • The email looks like it’s from a company you may know and trust: Netflix. It even uses a Netflix logo and header.
  • The email says your account is on hold because of a billing problem.
  • The email has a generic greeting, “Hi Dear.” If you have an account with the business, it probably wouldn’t use a generic greeting like this.
  • The email invites you to click on a link to update your payment details or provide further information

Steps you should follow:

  • If you are unsure of the authenticity of an email, DO NOT RESPOND
  • If required report the email to the IT Service Desk team at
  • Do take the opportunity to stay on top of your Usecure Information Security training.

Recognising a “smishing” text:

The body behind Britain’s banks said this morning that there has been a big rise in “smishing” text message scams that claim to be from government departments, banks or other trusted organisations. Criminals are also using a technique called “spoofing”, which can make a message appear in a chain of texts alongside previous genuine messages from that organisation, as per the example in the image above.

Steps you should follow:

  • Do not follow links in text messages where sensitive information may be required (financial, personal ID, etc.)
  • If your trusted service provider has an app, use that or log into its its website directly
  • If in doubt, check HMRC guidance on recognising scams

A reminder that:

You will never receive an email, text message or phone call from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which:

  • Tells you about a tax rebate or penalty
  • Asks for your personal or payment information

Even though our working environment might have changed, the threats have remained constant and you should remain vigilant.

Kind regards,



Biju Chudasama
IT Director