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Bogus coronavirus grants hit business inboxes

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Coronavirus-themed phishing tactics are still popular among cybercriminals, and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has uncovered a new one. This time around, criminals aren't posing as the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the United Nations (UN), but instead the UK Government.

According to the CTSI, the campaign uses an email format strikingly similar to that used by the real UK government and revolves around fake grants for businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry.

The scam tricks victims into believing they are eligible for a $31,000 grant, designed to alleviate the economic effects of the pandemic. The victim is prompted to fill out a form, handing over their bank information in the process. Hackers then proceed to empty the account.

CTSI has has warned members of the affected industries to exercise caution, explaining the financial difficulties facing the leisure and hospitality sector could make associated businesses a susceptible target.

"I have seen so many different kinds of emails, texts, and reports of doorstep and phone scams themed around Covid-19,“ said Katherine Hart, CTSI Lead Officer.

"I want to warn businesses that they should be eagle-eyed when receiving emails offering help, and never click the links in them. I understand that this seems like good news, especially for businesses deeply affected by lockdown, but always remember that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Just don't risk it."