Online fraud on the rise since Covid-19, says Europol

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a sharp increase in online shopping fraud, according to Europol. Criminals are targeting people who telework in particular, the European police agency announced.

Online fraud on the rise

“The exceptional crisis in Covid-19 has fuelled the increase in cybercrime in all its forms,” Europol said in a statement.

“The extension of confinements across Europe has brought a number of new online trading opportunities, which have often proved to be a target for criminals,” it continued. She points out that criminals offer goods and receive payments without delivery, scam online shops with weak security measures or use delivery services as phishing lures.

Also, they particularly target mobile phones by posing as delivery services pretending to offer information about a package, but actually hoping to obtain the victim’s account and credit card details. One method they use is smishing, which is the sending of SMS messages to mobile phones.

The dark web continues to be the main market for illicit activities, despite recent law enforcement crackdowns around the world, including the January takedown of the DarkMarket platform, then billed as the largest cyber black market outlet.