Fintech Zopa, which offers online lending services in a fund based fashion, has warned that scammers have been taking advantage of the current situation. According to a report from Action Fraud, victim losses due to the fraudulent activity related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in March 2020 were nearly £970,000 (in the United Kingdom).
Zopa is a leading online lending platform that is morphing into a full-stack digital bank.
“Lots of fraudsters are using emails and texts to find their victims.”
The Fintech firm recommends only opening emails from people we know or businesses and services we recognize and those which may have a legitimate reason to contact us.
The Zopa team noted that many service providers are keeping in close contact with their customers during these challenging times. They added that as people make their plans to cope with this crisis, they should be expecting to hear from certain businesses, such as travel companies.
While it may be common sense to go through our list of providers to get refunds or rearrange, fraudsters will often attempt to imitate legitimate services to scam people, the Zopa team pointed out.
Zopa’s management recommends checking links carefully before clicking on them. They also note that we must check for spelling mistakes, as these are used to carry out phishing scams.
We must also look out for threatening or intimidating language in email messages as this tactic can be used to scare people into giving up personal information to the hacker(s). We must not click on attachments from recipients we’re not too sure about, Zopa’s management says.
Text messages can also be used to help carry out scams, the Fintech firm warns. UK customers can report potentially fraudulent emails and text messages to Action Fraud.
Earlier this month, the US Department of Homeland Security issued an alert – warning consumers about COVID-19 related scams.
The joint statement included the Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) due to the depth of the risk.
The alert warned individuals about exploitation by cybercriminals and “advanced persistent threat” (APT) groups during the coronavirus global pandemic. The government said they are seeing a growing use of COVID-19-related themes by malicious cyber actors.
Jamey Boone, vice president and head of fraud risk prevention at Zelle, an established payments and peer to peer transfer platform utilized by many of the largest banks in the US, confirmed that we must always carefully check emails to determine whether they’re coming from our banking service providers. This, as scammers will try to obtain personal information by posing as users’ financial service companies.
HDFC Bank, which is India’s largest private sector lender, has issued similar warnings to local consumers.