The National Cyber Security Centre has revealed it shut down more than 80 online scams on the first day of its new email reporting service.
The Suspicious Email Reporting Service was launched on Tuesday as part of a cyber security awareness campaign in the UK.
It urged people to forward suspicious emails directly to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), and the agency said it received more than 5,000 reports in the first 24 hours, which has so far led to 83 scams being taken down.
The scheme was introduced in part to combat the recent trend of scams offering services related to coronavirus, as cyber criminals looked to play on anxiety around the pandemic.
NCSC chief executive Ciaran Martin said: “The immediate take-up of our new national reporting service shows that the UK is united in its defence against callous attempts to trick people online.
“While we have not seen a rise in email scams in the last month, coronavirus is the top lure currently used to conduct cyber crime – exploiting public unease and fear of the pandemic.
“We hope the success of the Suspicious Email Reporting Service deters criminals from such scams, but if you do receive something that doesn’t look right, forward the message to us – you will be helping to protect the UK from email scams and cyber crime.”
If you do receive something that doesn’t look right, forward the message to us – you will be helping to protect the UK from email scams and cyber crimeCiaran Martin, National Cyber Security Centre
The scheme is part of the new Cyber Aware campaign, which offers a range of general online safety advice to UK internet users, including tips on how to protect passwords, accounts and devices.
It also includes new advice on how to securely use video calling apps such as Zoom, following their rapid rise in popularity during lockdown.
A number of consumer organisations and agencies have warned of an increase in cyber crime looking to take advantage of fears around the Covid-19 outbreak.
A recent survey by TSB suggested that 42% of people believe they have been targeted by a bogus email since the outbreak began.
The email reporting scheme was co-developed with the City of London Police, whose national lead for fraud, Commander Karen Baxter, said the service would be a useful tool for police.
“This new service allows the public to take the power back from the criminal, and it’s fantastic so many people have utilised it already,” she said.
“This will assist the police in tracking down those responsible for sending these scam emails, and help in bringing them to justice.”