Expert opinion: Covid-related fraud

According to a report by Action Fraud, covid-related scams have cost Brits over £4.6 million as fraudsters find new ways to exploit the lockdown.

In response to this, Sundeep Tengur, Senior Business Solutions Manager at SAS, said: “Criminals are finding ways to exploit the virus and commit fraud. This has been exacerbated by the shift to digital transactions and the accompanying anonymity, making it difficult to identify the perpetrators.

“We’ve seen reports of fraud in the name of tax refunds and credit card scams, faux COVID-19 testing kits or “cures” for sale, WHO-branded phishing emails with malware-infected attachments and more. In addition, we’ve seen a shift in spending habits as a result of the pandemic, with those impacted financially cutting down on outgoing costs to focus on basic necessities, while those who can still afford it are spending more on entertainment, media, online shopping and gambling. Criminals are adapting to the situation, finessing their tactics and conning the public.

“The pandemic has provided fraudsters with countless new methods of attack, and the accompanying behavioural changes by consumers are only making things more difficult. Anomaly detection is one of the key measures in identifying fraud, allowing organisations to understand significant deviations from normal behaviour. Existing fraud detection models will therefore take time to adapt to this new ‘normal,’ and the likelihood is we’ll unfortunately see more fraud fall through the cracks. To counter fraudulent activity, consumers must be more vigilant than ever and automated anti-fraud technology must catch up with the criminals to help protect the public.”