CUMBRIA police are urging the public to remain vigilant when it comes to suspicious messages. 

As of 31st May 2022, the public has made over 12 million reports to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS), with the removal of over 83,000 scams and 153,000 malicious websites.

SERS was launched by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the City of London Police in April 2020 to enable the public to forward suspicious emails to an automated system that scans them for malicious links.

 The most impersonated organisations in phishing emails reported last year were the NHS, HMRC and

Detective Inspector Andy Myers, from Cumbria Police, said: “There are simple steps that people can take to protect themselves from phishing.

 “It’s important to be vigilant if you receive a message, you weren’t expecting and you think it might be a scam check with the company before responding.

 “If you have family and friends that aren’t tech savvy please make them aware of such scams so that they know how criminals work to trick individuals into giving their details.

 “We’d encourage you to report these scams to Action Fraud so forces can act to fight them and prosecute criminals.”

Mobile network providers also offer a service that allows customers to report suspicious text messages, by forwarding them to the number 7726.

The service is free of charge and enables providers to takedown malicious websites and block malicious texts from being sent across their network. As of May, 31, 13,000 scams have been removed as a result of suspicious text messages reported using the 7726 service.

The new figures come as the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s (NFIB) Cyber Protect team launches a national phishing awareness campaign on Monday, July 11  to remind the public to think twice before handing over personal and financial information.

Kelly Paterson, HMRC’s Chief Information and Security Officer, said: 

“Never let yourself be rushed. If someone contacts you saying they’re HMRC, wanting you to urgently transfer money or give personal information, be on your guard.

“Tax scams come in many forms. Some threaten immediate arrest, others offer a rebate. To help us fight these crimes, please forward suspicious texts claiming to be from HMRC to 60599 and emails to Report tax scam phone calls to us on GOV.UK.”