Criminals taking advantage of corona virus anxiety

Updated on 5/3/2020

During this unprecedented crisis of coronavirus outbreak, governments, international organizations and other authorities are intensifying their efforts to combat various criminal and fraudulent activity related to that.   You may have already seen reports of fraudulent activity around the sale of face masks and hand sanitiser.

Criminals have been quick to seize opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic to generate significant amounts of profit. Certain types of criminal activity intensified during the pandemic, while others almost ceased to occur. Even during times of crisis, criminal business continues.

Scammers are sophisticated, opportunistic and will try to get personal details or money from victims in many ways. They tend to target people who are more vulnerable or susceptible to being scammed, particularly in the current climate with many more people being at home.

INTERPOL warns of financial fraud linked to COVID-19;
– EUROPOL issued multiple reports on the criminal situation in Europe during the Coronavirus pandemic;
Statement by the FATF President: COVID-19 and measures to combat illicit financing;
– OLAF launches enquiry into fake COVID-19 related products;

– UK FCA on how to avoid coronavirus scams;
– Austria FMA warns about a strong increase in fraudulent activities in the financial markets in conjunction with the Corona pandemic;
–  USA Justice Department Files Its First Enforcement Action Against COVID-19 Fraud
– California Attorney General Issues Consumer Alert on Fraudulent Charities Amid the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency




This annual assessment of the cybercrime threat landscape highlights the persistence and tenacity of a number of key threats.

Ransomware maintains its reign as the most widespread and financially damaging form of cyber-attack, while criminals continue to defraud e-commerce and attack the financial sector. Criminals target and exploit vulnerable minors across the globe. All of these crimes seriously impact the physical, financial and psychological safety, security and stability of our society and require a coherent and coordinated response by law enforcement.

A crucial priority reported by both EU Member States and the private industry is Business Email Compromise (BEC). This scam exploits the way corporations do business, taking advantage of segregated corporate structures, and internal gaps in payment verification processes. Such attacks vary by the degree of technical tools used. Some attacks can successfully employ only social engineering, while others deploy technical measures such as malware and network intrusion.

While using ransomware to deny an organisation access to its own data may be the primary threat in this year’s report, denying others access to that organisation’s data or services is another significant threat. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks are yet another datafocused threat to cope with. Of all the motivations behind such attacks, those with an extortion element were overwhelmingly the most prevalent.


Europol: Terrorism situation 2019


Europol issued Report on EU Terrorism Situation & Trend Report (Te-Sat) 2019, where it comes with the last updates on terrorism in EU area, which continued to constitute a major threat to security in EU Member States. Horrific attacks perpetrated by jihadists like those in Trèbes, Paris, Liège and Strasbourg killed a total of thirteen people and injured many more. In addition, one terrorist attack by a right-wing extremist in Italy and numerous arrests of suspected right-wing terrorists for attack-planning across the European Union (EU) indicate that extremists of diverging orientation increasingly consider violence as a justified means of confrontation. Terrorists not only aim to kill and maim but also to divide our societies and spread hatred. We need to remain vigilant if we are to protect our citizens and values in the face of attempts to use violence for political aims.



This 2018 edition of the annual TESAT report issued by EUROPOL provides an overview of the nature and volume of terrorism that the EU faced in 2017.

“The human suffering and the threat of terrorist attacks still remains high in Europe. In 2017 European countries were again hit by terrorist attacks and there were many innocent victims of this indiscriminate violence. It therefore goes without saying that combatting terrorism remains a top priority for Europol.”