According to research by Trend Micro, a multinational cybersecurity and defence company, the UK is the most heavily targeted nation for COVID-19 Coronavirus-related email spam.

20.8% of global malicious Coronavirus spam is sent to UK-based email addresses, the research revealed. France came second at 11.5%, while the United States came in third with 8.2% of all spam emails received.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), noted a sharp rise in scams themed around the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK and has issued a series of warnings to the public over the past fortnight. The majority of these scams involve digital communications, predominantly email and text.

The research also found that the UK hosted 10.4% of all websites containing malicious COVID-19-related URLs. These kinds of links regularly lead to pages which request credit card details of the recipient or download dangerous apps which steal data or lock devices.

CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: “It is no surprise that the UK is the most targeted nation for this kind of scam email. CTSI has received intelligence on many new scams themed around the virus since the pandemic hit the UK.

“It’s reprehensible that unscrupulous people are taking advantage of millions of people during this unparalleled pandemic. This research on Coronavirus email scams is a sobering confirmation that the UK is the most targeted nation and that UK nationals must be the most vigilant and sceptical when receiving these kinds of messages.”