As the COVID-19 pandemic has many people quarantined in their homes and worried about stretching their finances during this difficult time, some scammers are using coronavirus fears to take advantage of others. Here are 4 helpful tips on spotting scams capitalizing on the coronavirus, so you can avoid becoming a scam victim.
1. Be on the Lookout for Phishing Scams
Hackers are using the coronavirus as clickbait. Through domain names and emails related to the coronavirus, hackers are attempting phishing email attacks to infect computers and steal personal and financial information. One such attack uses the World Health Organization to elicit the readers’ trust and then installs the AgentTesla Keylogger onto their device to record keystrokes that are sent to malicious actors.
When it comes to phishing email attacks, be vigilant before clicking on anything. Don’t open or click links from senders you don’t know, especially if that email is referencing the coronavirus pandemic. If the email does come from a trusted source but seems suspicious, check with that source before click on an attachment or responding to a request.
2. Don’t Purchase Items from Unknown Websites
Most of us have purchased products online from sites like Amazon or eBay, but there are other online sellers that aren’t as familiar. Some online sites claim to have popular products, such as hand sanitizer, cleaning and disinfecting products and medical supplies, but instead just want your credit card or other payment information. Find reviews or other information about these sites before purchasing. When in doubt, don’t give them your payment information.
3. Fact-Check Before You Share
Information about the coronavirus is being distributed through the news, social media and other platforms. Before you retweet or share a post, make sure the information you are spreading is correct. Has the information been widely reported? If not, it might be false. In fact, the U.S Health and Human Services Department recently suffered a cyberattack aimed at slowing down the agency’s servers as it responded to the coronavirus pandemic. The attack also was tied to “fake” messages about mandatory quarantines delivered through social media, email and text.
4. Donate to Trusted Charities
While we want to do our part to help out, it is always wise to proceed carefully when donating to an organization. Make sure to find out more about the charity and where the money or donations go. Make good decisions when it comes to donating cash and never wire money as a donation.