A CITY insurance firm is giving advice after a sharp increase in cyber crime during the coronavirus lockdown.

Sutcliffe & Co has provided its top tips for spotting scam emails and how to avoid the likes of scam cures and fake tests.

According to Action Fraud, £2 million has already been lost as of mid-April.

Tips on spotting a phishing email include:

• The criminals will try to make their email look convincing so don’t trust it just because it looks official or from a name you recognise

• Poor spelling or grammar and bad quality images or logos are often a giveaway

• An email asking you to provide information, especially if it is stressing urgency, is threatening or is offering a reward should be treated with suspicion. Do not give away personal or commercial data without caution

• Does the sender’s email address look like it should and is it spelt correctly? You can sometimes check the validity of the sender’s address or any links by hovering your cursor over them, sometimes this can reveal the true address.

• Be wary if the email does not address you by name or is from an unknown or unexpected sender

• If the message is too good to be true, it probably is

• Use different passwords for different websites so if one password is compromised the criminal will not have instant access to all of your sites. Passwords should be at least 10 characters long with mixed characters, current advice is to use 7hree $eperate Wordz

• Ensure up to date antivirus, malware and firewalls are installed

• Restrict account controls so staff can only access data or the parts of the system that they need to for their role. If an individual is breached this will restrict the access criminals have to the business.

• Ensure portable devices are password protected and encrypted

• Discourage the use of removable media, such as USB sticks, and personal devices, these are both common causes of valuable data being lost or unwanted problems getting in.

• Train and educate staff in cyber hygiene and cyber security awareness, in most breaches people are the weak link

• Consider completing Cyber Essentials certification for your business, which is proven to significantly reduce cyber risks https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberessentials/overview