COMPUTER experts have issued a warning after the number of cases of online scams soared during the lockdown.

Thousands of people in Essex are being warned of a dramatic surge in online and phone scams exploiting the coronavirus pandemic.

City of London police and Action Fraud have reported a 400 per cent increase in scams as a result of Covid-19 related fraud.

Murray Thorpe, of Cablers IT Services in Earls Colne, has spent the past 23 years working in data security and IT support.

He has compiled a list of some of the most recent scams dreamed up by hackers and phone fraudsters in a bid to help people protect themselves.

He said: “People really need to be warned about these. Hackers have become creative in the past few weeks.

“We’ve seen a massive surge in scams, all relating to what’s happening to us all.”

Mr Thorpe said typical example of online fraud inlcude clone emails which seem to come from reputable businesses but don’t and cyber criminals using people’s social media accounts to build up profiles of them and help with hacking their email.

Jonathan Whiting, of Lexden Computer Services, has also noticed an increase in people using coronavirus to try to create believable scams.

He said some included investment “opportunities” which really are too good to be true and loan offers with an upfront fee but the loan never materialises.

Mr Whiting added: “We’ve been supporting our business clients against these kind of scams since the start of the health crisis.

“I am concerned we should do something to help the wider community in Colchester.”

For anyone concerned about being scammed, especially during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, both firms have created advisory notes which can be downloaded from their websites.

For more information about how to protect yourself, visit or