Scottish Care, an Ayr-headquartered independent social care organisation, has been the target of an email scam attack.
Last week, the organisation posted on Twitter to warn both residents and members of staff to ignore and avoid accessing emails purporting to be from the UK Government.
Scam emails claiming to be the Government issuing a £500 payment to residents have been circulating through email systems and was first noticed in the Borders.
“It has come to our attention that scam emails are going around care homes,” Scottish Care said in a tweet. “If you receive an email like this, please not open or click on the links!”
Scottish Care is the representative for the largest group of independent sector social care providers across Scotland, including private, not for profit and charitable organisations.
It is a major target for cybercriminals, and if breached could have huge ramifications for care residents across the country.
Scottish Care said in a statement: “We cannot believe that people would try to scam hardworking care home workers and residents during these challenging times, this is truly awful.
“As an organisation, we have raised this concern with others and alerted all members. We urge all care home providers, staff and residents to stay vigilant and not to open any emails that raise suspicion.”
It has come to our attention that scam emails are going around care homes, claiming to be the UK Government issuing a £500 payment to residents.
If you receive an email like this, please not open or click on the links!
Please stay vigilant & share this alert. pic.twitter.com/ZrjoOgIU5G
— Scottish Care (@scottishcare) April 15, 2021
Commenting on the email scams, Scottish Care CEO, Dr Donald Macaskill said: “It is deeply disturbing that yet again some of our most exhausted social care staff and some of our most at-risk citizens – residents in care homes – have been targeted in this direct way.
“Covid-19 has not only brought out the best of the humanity of people but sadly it has also resulted in some individuals using the pandemic for their own malevolent and heartless ends.”
Digital criminals are becoming increasingly bold in their targeting of caregiving organisations, particularly since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Cybersecurity specialists Check Point warned in January that cyber-attacks against healthcare groups are rising alongside a global spike in Covid-19 cases.
The company warned that cyberattacks against healthcare organisations have increased by 45% since November 2020.
Additionally, stats from cybersecurity firm Bitdefender’s 2020 Consumer Threat Landscape Report indicated that global ransomware attacks increased exponentially last year, growing 485% compared to 2019.
Most of the attacks were carried out in the first and second quarter of 2020 – in both the onset and the height of the pandemic – an increase of 64%.