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Fraudsters are taking advantage of the fear of COVID-19

Companies in Denmark have sent home most of their employees to work from distance where the security is typically not as strong as when working from the office location. Unfortunately, the fraudsters are aware of this too and at the same time they try to take advantage of the current COVID-19 situation. In Danske Bank we have already seen the first few smishing attempts towards our customers.

In the latest threat intelligence report from Center for Cybersecurity, the conclusion is that the digital threat towards authorities and companies in Denmark is critically high.

According to this report, the fraudsters disguise themselves as either representatives from national health authorities – lately, we have seen attempts on smishing being sent out in the name of Sundhedsstyrelsen – or as companies or organisations who works with fighting the spreading of the COVID-19 virus. The latest example on this comes from the US and the UK where several phishing e-mails have been sent out carrying the name of WHO.

Danske Bank customers have also been scammed
In Danske Bank, we have already seen the first attempts on smishing towards our customers in relation to COVID-19 and we expect this number to increase.

Denmark has so far avoided any large fraud cases, however that is not the case for the remaining Nordic countries. In Sweden, there has been an increase in the number of fake webshops that try to trick customers to buy non-existing hygiene products such as hand sanitizers and masks – the purpose of these fake webshops is to try and trick any visitors to enter their credit card information and other sensitive information. 

The fraudsters lack moral and will use any means necessary in their attempt to access our data, network and bank accounts. Via the global media, they know that many people are working from home and may not be as focused like they would be from their normal physical office location. This is why it is extremely important that we all think twice during this special period of time and are even more critical towards emails, text messages and phone calls. 

Ketil Clorius

Head of Global Fraud Management, Danske Bank

Four pieces of advice

Ketil encourages everyone who is working from home to follow these four pieces of advice:

  • Pay extra attention to emails, text messages, phone calls and web sites with information regarding COVID-19. Never give out your Nem-ID or passwords.
  • You should only use the communication channels approved by your workplace. Remember that safety procedures also applies while working from home.
  • Think twice before you click on a link. The fraudsters will often try to encourage you to act quickly.
  • Companies should ensure that critical software updates can continue to run on desktops even when employees work from home. 

In Danske Bank we have created 'Keep it safe' to help our customers protect themselves.