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Fraud Advisory Panel Weekly Updates on COVID-19 fraud in England & Wales

COVID-19 Fraud Watch

The Fraud Advisory Panel is a respected, influential and independent voice of the anti-fraud community. The Fraud Advisory Panel champion best practice in fraud prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution, and help people and organisations to protect themselves against fraud. Their members are drawn from all sectors – public, private and voluntary – and many different professions who are united by a common concern about fraud and a determination to do something about it.

The Fraud Advisory Panel have set up a COVID-19 fraud watch group which is a cross-sector and cross-industry coalition of trusted partners (including the Cabinet Office and City of London Police) who meet weekly to share information on emerging fraud threats and trends affecting business. It aims to act as a conduit to warn the public, private and third sectors about COVID-19 fraud risks and the preventative actions that can be taken.

You can receive updates on a weekly basis by email by subscribing to their mailing list at the following URL: https://www.fraudadvisorypanel.org/covid-fraud-watch-group/

Latest Update

Issued: Thursday 14 May

CURRENT COVID-19 FRAUD RISKS

  • Impersonation of the Department of Education (esp. the grants to provide IT equipment to children and free school meals)
  • Illegal selling of NHS prescription medicine
  • Infiltration of email chains containing e-licencing materials for drugs and firearms
  • Phishing emails purporting to be delivery companies (esp. FedEx, DHL and UPS)
  • Impersonation of Government departments (esp. DWP, HMRC)
  • Fake payroll and DocuSign emails
  • Business continuity malware
  • CEO and mandate fraud
  • Fake invoice attachments containing malware
  • Ransomware

ANTICIPATED AND/OR EMERGING ISSUES

  • Increased risk of delayed fraud trials due to difficulties in convening jury’s due to social distancing and self-isolation due to illness.
  • Predicted opportunistic defaulters leading to a downstream of proceeds of crime and fraud offences.
  • Staff leaving their jobs while working from home but retaining access to the company’s systems, data and equipment creating opportunities for fraud.
  • In Asia concerns have been raised about increases in tax evasion, bribery and corruption relating to supply chains and terrorist financing activities.

SOME SIMPLE PREVENTATIVE TIPS …

  • Review of business policies/processes (eg. Bring Your Own Device) to ensure adequate controls are in place for staff working from home.
  • Review and update staff ‘leaver’ processes for remote working to ensure the safe return of company information/equipment and to block access to systems.
  • Use BAC’s payments where possible.
  • Independently verify invoices from suppliers – using contact details known to be genuine – before making payment.
  • The FCA’s FCSC has provided additional COVID-19 guidance for regulated firms. Available here.
  • FATF has produced additional guidance for business. Available here.

Previous updates