Staying Safe Online during the Covid-19 Pandemic

By Tracy Coates - Community Safety Officer for Derbyshire County Council.

As Community Safety Officer I work with the Police and other partners to help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.  As well as physical crime that may go on in the community, I also help people to understand cybercrime to try and help keep people safe online. You can find out more about my work at

The coronavirus outbreak means that lots of people are currently working remotely at home, and that includes me.  But, as we are all spending more time online -  working, socialising, shopping and educating our children - it is more important than ever that we do everything we can to stay safe onlineHands typing on a laptop with image of locked padlock

Computer viruses and scams

Criminals are trying to exploit the current situation and we’ve seen a rise in coronavirus-related fraud and scams.  These can leave you vulnerable to computer viruses and malicious software, as well as out of pocket.  Examples have included:-

  • Online shopping scams where victims purchase fake products and goods that are never delivered, or people are charged over-inflated prices for high-demand products, such as face masks or hand sanitiser.
  • Phishing emails or texts trying to trick you into clicking on links and giving personal information to claim refunds for services ‘that can’t be delivered due to the lockdown’.
  • Emails asking for charitable donations to support the NHS, or other organisations dealing with the outbreak.
  • Emails promoting investment in bitcoin ‘to take advantage of the financial downturn’.

If it sounds too good to be true, there's a good chance it’s a scam, so the best advice is never click on links, or open attachments, in emails from senders you don't know. 

You can sign up to Derbyshire County Council’s Scams Bulletin for information about local and national scams.

Be more ‘scam aware’ by going to


If you are a victim of cybercrime or online fraud and scams, report it to Action Fraud tel: 0300 123 2040.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recently launched a Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS), so you can now forward suspicious, or phishing emails to [email protected]

Computer screen with image of locked padlockOften people feel that nothing happens when they report cybercrime and fraud.  That’s because the sheer volume means it is not possible to reply to each individual but, hopefully, you’ll be reassured when I say that, in the first two weeks, the NCSC received 160,000 suspicious emails, which resulted in them closing down 300 bogus sites.

Rural Action Derbyshire is publishing regular updates from the Cyber Protect Officer at Derbyshire Police. Each one covers a particular subject as well as the "Hot Topics" of the moment. You can also book on weekly Webinar.

22nd May 2020