Brits Embrace New Suspicious Email Reporting Service

The British public have enthusiastically embraced the new suspicious email reporting service (SERS) launched by the UK government's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). 

SERS was launched on April 21 as part of the NCSC's Cyber Aware campaign, which teaches six actionable steps to stay safe online. In its first day of operation alone, the service received a staggering 5,151 reports of suspicious emails, which directly led to 83 different scams being quashed.

“The immediate take-up of our new national reporting service shows that the UK is united in its defense against callous attempts to trick people online," said NCSC Chief Executive Officer Ciaran Martin.

“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.” 

Martin said that recent malicious email attacks had been themed around the outbreak of COVID-19 in almost every country in the world. 

“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," said Martin.

In the past month, the NCSC has removed more than 2,000 online scams related to the coronavirus, including 471 fake online shops selling fraudulent COVID-19–related items. 

Under the new scheme, bringing a dodgy-looking digital missive to the attention of the NCSC is quick and easy. All recipients need to do is forward the questionable content to report@phishing.gov.uk, and the NCSC’s automated program will immediately test the validity of the site. Sites found to be phishing scams are removed immediately. 

SERS was co-developed with the City of London Police to take down malicious sites and support UK policing by providing live-time analysis of reports and identifying new patterns in online offending.

Commander Karen Baxter, City of London Police, National Lead for Fraud, said: “Technology is helping us keep connected during coronavirus, but it is sometimes exploited by criminals.

“The new email reporting service helps to combat this, and the results so far show how valuable this tool is.”

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