Steer Clear of Coronavirus Scams

With
the world grappling with a health pandemic, scams are shocking. Regrettably,
bad actors are everywhere, always looking for opportunities, and they’re seeing
one in the coronavirus. This article outlines what you need to watch out for
and how to stay cyber safe.

The
last thing you want to read right now is that there’s another threat out there
– sorry, but it’s true. Cybercriminals take advantage of fear. They take timely
concerns and use them to target victims. Using the anxiety and upheaval around
coronavirus is their mission.

So
far, several coronavirus-related attempts to cyberscam people have been
reported. There are examples of:

  • emails that appear to come from
    government health departments;
  • offering a tax refund to get people to
    click on malicious links;
  • memos to staff that appear to come
    from large employers;
  • COVID-19 test offerings from private
    companies;
  • fake websites promising to sell face
    masks or hand sanitizer;
  • soliciting donations to help fund a
    vaccine.

What
to Watch Out For

Another
concern is the number of bogus websites registered with names relating to
COVID-19. The site can look legit but is set up to steal information or infect
the victim’s computer with malware.

You
may get an email promising the attached information offers coronavirus safety
measures, or information shared by the World Health Organization (WHO) if you
click on the link, or a similar email pretending to be from a reputable news
source, such as the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

In
another example, an email impersonating a healthcare company’s IT team asked
people to register for a seminar “about this deadly virus.” Anyone who
didn’t question why IT was organizing the meeting clicked to register. By
filling out the form, they gave their details to hackers.

What
to Do

Be
cautious. It’s understandable that you’re anxious, but don’t let that stop you
from taking cyber precautions. You should still:

  • be wary of anything that tries to play
    on your emotions and urges immediate action;
  • question where emails are coming from
    – remain vigilant even if the communication appears to come from a reliable
    source;
  • hover over links before clicking them
    to see where they will take you – for example, in the WSJ example, the Web
    address was for the “worldstreetjournal”;
  • avoid downloading anything you didn’t
    ask for;
  • doubt any deals that sound too good to
    be true (“a mask that stops the virus 99.7% of the time!”);
  • ignore any communications requesting
    your personal information;
  • don’t be suckered by fraudulent pleas
    for charity.

Global
health organizations generally do not send out emails with advice. Instead,
navigate directly to that reputable health institution for real news.

If
you’re still not sure about the validity of the communication, check it out. Do
so by calling or using another medium to get in touch with the “source” of the
received message.

While
there is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19, you can put anti-virus protection on
your computer. Also, make sure that you’ve applied all available security
updates to keep your software safe.

We
hope you’ll take care and stay healthy both physically and online in these
tough times.

Need help installing security software and keeping your technology safe? Our cybersecurity experts can give your home a tech immunisation. Contact us today at 01297 306 356!

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