Rise In Email Fraud Hits UK Post-Brexit

Brexit-inspired email scam attempts have nearly risen 400% since the United Kingdom's Brexit referendum last month, according to Symantec. 

The UK shocked the world on June 23 when the country elected to leave the European Union -- the first EU member country to do so. More than 30 million British citizens participated in the vote, with the leave campaign winning by a narrow victory of 52% to 48%.

As the UK reels from voting results, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the fear and frustrations of many with a new phishing scam targeting Britons into clicking on emails that contain malware. 

Cybersecurity company Symantec saw a 392% increase in spam emails that contain the word "Brexit" in the subject line, and asserts that the number of emails blocked by the company jumped from 81,323 emails in the two weeks prior to the referendum to 399,892 emails in the two weeks after the referendum, according to the BBC

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Digital Shadows, a London-based cybersecurity company, also reports an increase in Brexit-inspired email phishing attacks.

"A common ploy being used by cybercriminals is to send emails that references 'Brexit causes historic market drop' designed to create urgency in the recipient to click a link or open an attachment as a means of delivering malware," states James Chappell, co-founder of Digital Shadows, in an interview with The Telegraph.

Consumers should be on the lookout for any emails containing similar subject lines, and should never open any attachments or links from an email if they have not verified the sender.

Email marketers might also want to reconsider sending any newsletters referring to Brexit in the subject line, as they might be immediately deleted by subscribers as a precaution. 

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