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Gmail blocked over 18 million COVID-19 phishing emails last week, and it's shared the most common examples

Gmail blocked over 18 million COVID-19 phishing emails last week
(Image credit: Getty)

According to Google, Gmail has been blocking more than 18 million malware and phishing emails concerning coronavirus every week. The email provider also sees over 240 million COVID-19-themed spam messages daily. 

Although there hasn't been an increase in phishing scams overall since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, scammers have been tailoring emails to “use both fear and financial incentives to create urgency to try to prompt users to respond”, according to Neil Kumaran (opens in new tab), a manager for Gmail Security. 

In our Gmail review (opens in new tab), we were impressed by its high-level security, which makes it the best free email service (opens in new tab) around. The company's AI models "have evolved to understand and filter these threats, and continue to block more than 99.9% of spam, phishing, and malware from reaching our users."

We've been covering the top coronavirus scams to watch out for (opens in new tab) to help you stay safe from cyber attacks in recent weeks. Google has published four real-life examples of coronavirus phishing emails it's blocked to help you recognize fraudulent emails. 

What COVID-19 phishing scams look like

Phishing scams can come in many different forms. One of the examples shown by Google is impersonating the World Health Organization, and using this leading coronavirus authority to spread downloadable files which then install backdoors into your computer. Backdoors are spyware, which can steal personal and financial data and install more dangerous malware. 

Other examples, shown below, take advantage of current working-from-home conditions, or capitalize on government stimulus packages (opens in new tab) . 

Although Gmail blocked all of these examples, there are many more ways for your computer to be attacked by malware. We've covered the best antivirus software (opens in new tab) to help you keep your computer safe from cyberattacks. After all, your computer can't catch COVID-19, but it's often susceptible to a host of other viruses. One of the most common attacks made in phishing emails is the theft of personal information. If you are concerned that you are at risk of identity theft, consider our guide to the best identity theft protection services (opens in new tab)

Millie is a former staff writer for the Top Ten Reviews brand who now works across Future's Home portfolio. Her spare time is spent traveling, cooking, playing guitar and she's currently learning how to knit. Millie loves tracking down a good deal and keeping up-to-date on the newest technology and kitchen appliances.