BEWARE: COVID-19 Related Cyber Scams are Circulating
The “bad guys” or cyber criminals love when there is any sort of incident, crisis or occasion when folks have escalated emotions or stress, and this is certainly one of those times. With the COVID-19 commanding an unprecedented amount of coverage around the world, these individuals or teams of people are preying on our fears and emotions. These scammers have been sending emails, robocalls and texts with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites attempting to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes.
Below are some specific scams of which we’ve been made aware, and we encourage you to remain vigilant at this time to protect yourself.
Email Scams may:
- Claim to be from organizations such as Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) or others asking for account information or for money
- Advertise fraudulent versions of a map published by Johns Hopkins University that shares latest stats about COVID-19
- Look like a corporate COVID-19 response from a business the consumer is familiar with but in fact contains a malicious attachment
- Claim to be from a hospital informing the recipient that they may have come in contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. The email instructs the recipient to download an attached excel file
Text Scams may:
- Falsely advertise a cure or an offer to be tested for coronavirus
- Claim that the government will order a mandatory national two-week quarantine, or instruct you to go out and stock up on supplies. The messages can appear to be from a “next door neighbor.”
- Impersonate the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services informing recipients that they must take a “mandatory online COVID-19 test” with a link
Robocall Scams may offer:
- Work-from-home opportunities
- Student loan repayment plans
- Debt consolidation offers
- Cleaning Product Delivery
- Diabetic Monitor & Test Kit for Coronavirus
- Economic Impact Payment
Whether the scam attempts come into you via a robocall, email or text, the end goal of the scammer is to gain access to users’ personal passwords and account information so they can perpetuate fraudulent activities. Please use caution handling any email with a COVID-19 related subject line, attachment or hyperlink and be wary of social media pleas, texts or calls related to COVID-19. Remember to ALWAYS confirm the primary source of any of these communications and never take source claims at face value.