Anti fraud group plea to travel firms to report coronavirus related cybercrime

Travel companies are being urged to report coronavirus related cyberattacks to travel anti-fraud group Profit.

The plea comes as Profit joins the police task squad tackling coronavirus related fraud and cybercrime.

The Fraud Advisory Panel Covid-19 Task Force, which includes representatives from the City of London Police, telecommunications and broadband industry and various government departments among others, has been set up to identify coronavirus-related fraud and cyber threats aimed at businesses during the pandemic.

More at:Coronavirus: Latest news and updates

According to new data from multinational cybersecurity company Trend Micro, the UK has seen the largest share of malicious coronavirus related spam emails globally between January 1 and March 27, 2020.

Around 20.8% of malicious spam emails in the UK in the three month period had coronavirus in the subject line. This compares with 11.5% in France, 8.2% in the US and 5.9% in Italy.

Profit chairman Barry Gooch said: “There are increasing reports of multiple cyberattacks on businesses being seen during the pandemic.

“At this time it is crucial that everyone is watchful for anything suspicious and especially that they identify any cyberattacks or fraud attempts early and report them to Action Fraud as well as let us know at PROFiT so we can alert the trade through Travel Weekly and find solutions.”

He added: “The free counter fraud tools of Quad9 and DMARC from the Global Cyber Alliance are still available as is the offer of free use of the Variti bad bot tool to detect attacks before they are successful.”

Gooch asked travel companies to report any cybercrime linked to the virus to Profit, which can then be fed back to the Fraud Advisory Panel Covid-19 Task Force.

The task force will assess the fraud and threats to businesses during the pandemic and where possible issue alerts and guidance on how to deal with them.

Businesses are thought to be more vulnerable currently to cyberattacks because many companies are not operating normally, with many staff furloughed or working from home.

Europol, which has been monitoring the impact of coronavirus on cybercrime since the start of the crisis, said it is investing resources to help EU member states to counter the threat of coronavirus-related fraud. It warned the threat from cybercrime during the crisis has the potential to increase further.

Gooch urged travel companies to email Profit on and to report fraud to Action Fraud using its online form at or call 0300 123 2040.

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