More than £800,000 has been lost following a series of coronavirus scams last month - prompting a warning for elderly and vulnerable people not to fall victim.

It comes after figures by the National Fraid Intelligence Bureau identified 21 reports of fraud where coronavirus were mentioned in the UK since February.

Of those 21 reports, a total of ten were made by victims that attempted to purchase protective face masks from fraudulent sellers.

One victim reported losing more than £15,000 when they purchased face masks that were never delivered.

A spokesman from Action Fraud said: "We have also received multiple reports about coronavirus-themed phishing emails attempting to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial information."

What are the fraudsters tactics to target victims?

One common tactic used by fraudsters is to contact potential victims over email purporting to be from research organisation’s affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

They claim to be able to provide the recipient with a list of coronavirus infected people in their area.

In order to access this information, the victim needs to click on a link, which leads to a malicious website, or is asked to make a payment in Bitcoin.

Reporting numbers are expected to rise as the virus continues to spread across the world.

How can I avoid this scam and warn others?

Here are some top tips from Action Fraud on what to do.

  • Watch out for scam messages: Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.
  • Shopping online: If making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.
  • Protect your devices from the latest threats: Always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats. For information on how to update your devices, visit: