The NHS was the most widely used UK public sector brand in scam emails in 2022, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has revealed.
It said the National Health Service was the most common fraudulently cited government source of phishing emails – aimed at getting recipients to click a bad link – reported to its Suspicious eMail Reporting Service (SERS), followed by TV Licensing, HM Revenue and Customs, GOV.UK, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and energy regulator Ofgem.
NCSC said it saw scammers exploit the rising cost of living with scams connected to Ofgem energy bill support and HMRC tax rebates, and that they continued to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to attempt PCR tests scams.
SERS received 6.4 million reports during 2022, with 67,300 scam URLs removed as a result. This brings the total number of reports to SERS since its launch in 2020 to 15.8 million, with 198,500 takedowns.
Sarah Lyons, NCSC deputy director for economy and society resilience, said: “We know cyber criminals try to exploit trends and current affairs to make their scams seem convincing and sadly our latest data shows 2022 was no exception.
“By shining a light on these scams we want to help people more easily spot the common tricks fraudsters use, so that ultimately they can stay safer online.
“There is much more advice on the NCSC’s website about spotting suspicious messages, along with our Cyber Aware guidance to help people protect their devices.”