While most of us are scrambling and adapting to new ways of conducting business, grocery shopping and keeping in touch with loved ones, there is a faction of society that is relishing in the uncertainty, fear and confusion that the coronavirus scare is causing. Cybercriminals.
Scammers have never been ones to let a good crisis go to waste. Global emergencies give rise to anxiety, shortages of supplies, false information floating around on social media and desperation among otherwise levelheaded folks.
You want to be mindful of online scams. There has been an uptick in websites offering to sell phony products in an effort to scam you out of your money and personal information. Scammers are using fake emails, texts and social media posts disguised as prevention tips and updates in order to steal your information and sell it on the Dark Web. Another tactic is asking for donations for victims. If you want to make a donation to a known, well-respected charity, go directly to their website or call them to make arrangements.
Be super vigilant about opening and clicking on links in any emails or texts you receive or social media posts claiming to have the latest information on the current health crisis.
Be particularly wary of any emails you receive from the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control. Unless you are already receiving regular emails from these organizations, it’s highly unlikely that they are going to start sending notifications to you now.
The WHO is aware that cybercriminals are hijacking their brand to scam an already fearful society. Their website offers this information on how it communicates via email:
“Make sure the sender has an email address such as ‘email@example.com’. If there is anything other than ‘who.int’ after the ‘@’ symbol, this sender is not from WHO. WHO does not send email from addresses ending in ‘@who.com’, ‘@who.org’ or ‘@who-safety.org’ for example.”
If you want to get the latest information on COVID-19 in your community, your best bet is to visit the websites directly.