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30 Apr 2020

Your learning

Beware of coronavirus related cyber crime

We’re working with the Scottish Government’s Cyber Resilience Unit to make people in the sector aware of an increase in coronavirus related scams.  

Stay at home measures during the pandemic are creating a perfect environment for fraudsters to thrive. Criminals are exploiting our greater use of emails, video conferencing and other technologies. 

Social service workers should pay extra attention to this increased threat and be aware of how to prevent themselves and the people they support from falling victim to scams.  

Below are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself and advice on where to get help if you or someone you support is targeted. 

PPE and procurement fraud  

Beware of counterfeit PPE, healthcare and pharmaceutical products being sold online. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  

Video conferencing  

Each video conferencing platform has security features which will help reduce the risk of broadcasts or meetings being hijacked by malicious users.  


Quizzes which appear to be checking our knowledge about COVID-19 are also being used to obtain personal information which could be used for identity theft. Always be mindful of the information you share online. 

Phishing emails 

Do not give out private information such as bank details or passwords, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on any links in emails if you’re not sure they’re genuine. 

If you have received an email which you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the National Cyber Security Centre’s Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS).  

Fake emails claiming to be from local authorities or the HMRC often offer a tax refund or financial support. The UK Government has an up to date list of common HMRC scams.  


The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has launched a new Cyber Aware campaign. It includes new guidance on using online video conferencing, advice for people to protect passwords, accounts and devices and details of its Suspicious Email Reporting Service.  

If you’ve been a victim of coronavirus related or any other fraud, report it to Police Scotland by calling 101 

Read more updates from the Scottish Government's Cyber Resilience Unit here.

Learn more about Staying secure online

As a social service worker, either now or in the future, you’ll have access to digital devices as part of your job.

It is necessary to protect and safeguard these devices and the information you have access to. We built the learning resource Staying secure online to help you with this.


Contact information

Dawn Morrison
Scottish Social Services Council