COVID-19: Cybercriminals capitalize on global fears

As COVID-19 continues to spread, cybercriminals have used a variety of tactics to exploit the widespread fear of infection and hunger for news and/or protective merchandise.

Cyberfraud is prevalent and will only increase as more and more business is conducted online. Billions are lost each year as a consequence.

As an international finance and banking center and one of the world’s most open and free economies, a substantial volume of funds, including defrauded funds, flow through Hong Kong each day. In 2018 alone, there were 2,717 cases of online business fraud, with losses of HK$56 million (about US$7.2 million), and 894 email scams, of which 887 cases were corporate scams, with losses of HK$1.17 billion (about US$150.3 million).

The majority of the corporate scams involved victimized organizations with no connection with Hong Kong sending money to scammers through Hong Kong bank accounts. Millions can be lost in each scam. In the last two years, a South American organization and a US organization were reported as having been respectively duped into transferring US$18 million and US$3 million into Hong Kong bank accounts.

The full article can be accessed here.

EY Law key contacts:

Kareena Teh

Partner, LC Lawyers LLP

Catherine Wong

Associate, LC Lawyers LLP

LC Lawyers LLP is an independent law firm. It is a Hong Kong law firm member of the global EY network, in coordination with other law firm members.