Tips for Avoiding Coronavirus Scams
The COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) outbreak has resulted in several nations, including the United States, declaring a state of emergency. Nation states are urging people to practice social distancing, remain calm, and work remotely when available. Cybercriminals are using the Coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to gather information and scam consumers and companies alike. The FBI, FTC, Secret Service, and World Health Organization have all recently issued warnings.
Cybercriminals are approaching the Coronavirus from various angles. With more people working from home, cybercriminals are eager to gain access to corporate computer systems and personal information. They are sending phishing emails that appear to be from the World Health Organization or CDC that pretend to offer new information or hint at the availability of a vaccine. Some phishing emails claim to be from charitable organizations looking to raise money for victims.
Individuals need to be cautious before clicking on an email or link about the Coronavirus. Here are a few tips to avoid getting scammed:
- Slow down and think. If a claim seems too good to be true, it probably is. If something doesn’t seem right about the email or information, delete it, ideally before you open it.
- Examine the link. Before you click on a link, hover your mouse over it. This will reveal the full link address which can expose signs of fraud. Only click on links to trusted websites.
- Be wary of emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) websites directly.
- Don’t open attachments. Attachments may contain malware and you should never type confidential information into a form attached to an email.
- Guard your personal and financial information. Be wary of emails asking for account numbers, credit card numbers, wire transfers, etc. There is no reason to share information through email or an unsecure site.
- Perform software updates. When updates become available on your phone or computer, install them. Up-to-date software and antivirus software can help stop malware.
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