The Suspicious Email Reporting Service launched just two months ago by the National Cyber Security Centre has already received a million reports from the public, the Centre announced today.
Fake cryptocurrency investment lures made up more than half of the 10,000 online links to scams detected as a result of reporting to date. Investors are typically promised high returns in exchange for buying currency such as bitcoin.
The scams have all been detected since the April launch of the service, which allows the public to forward suspect emails which may link to fraudulent websites. Part of the UK Government’s Cyber Aware campaign, it has received a daily average of 16,500 emails.
The Centre thanked the public for their contribution and encouraged them to stay vigilant as cybercriminals continue to seek out opportunities.
Apart from cryptocurrency scams, there have also been numerous examples of fake online shops and spoofs involving brands such as TV Licensing, HMRC, Gov.uk and the DVLA.
NCSC chief executive officer Ciaran Martin commented: "The kind of scams we’ve blocked could have caused very real harm and I would like to thank everyone who has played their part in helping make the internet safer for all of us.
"While it’s right that we should celebrate reaching this milestone, it is important for all of us to remain on our guard and forward any emails that don’t look right to firstname.lastname@example.org."
If forwarded emails are found to link to malicious content, they will be taken down or blocked, helping prevent future victims of crime.
Latest figures show that 10% of the scams were removed within an hour of an email being reported, and 40% were down within a day of a report. In all, 10,200 malicious URLs linked to 3,485 individual sites have been removed thanks to the million reports received.
The service was co-developed with the City of London Police, and supports UK policing by providing live time analysis of reports and identifying new patterns in online offending.
If people have lost money, they should tell their bank and report it as a crime to Action Fraud, but sending emails to email@example.com will offer an automated service to people who flag what they think to be a suspicious email and prevent others from falling victim to these scams.