- Scammers have begun to take advantage of people’s fears relative to the novel coronavirus
- Scammers will typically imitate companies, government agencies, and medical professionals in order to gain your trust
- Email and text messages are common methods used by scammers to compromise your account and or to solicit payment
Scammers are master opportunists who will go to extreme lengths to steal your personal information and or money. With the general public’s focus on surviving a global pandemic, scammers have begun to con individuals in an attempt to elicit a huge payday. We’ll take a look at 3 types of scams you’re likely to see during the COVID-19 pandemic and provide you with tips on how to avoid being scammed.
1. The Phishing email
Phishing emails are one of the most common tools used in the scammer playbook to obtain an individual’s sensitive information. That information can be one’s social security number, financial information, or email and password, to name a few. COVID-19 related phishing emails have been known to impersonate Doctors, international organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), and government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. Always verify the senders email address; confirm that the sender is legitimate via telephone or in person. Finally, avoid clicking on attachments unless you know that the email is valid.
2. The Text Message
SMS based phishing, also known as SMSishing, is another popular method used by scammers and hackers alike to gather sensitive information. Scammers will typically either spoof their number, to make it resemble a legitimate number used by an individual or organization, or use a generic number like the ones used by bars, clubs, and cellular providers. The scammer will also include a link that directs you to a malicious site. Similar to a traditional phishing attack, be sure to validate that the sender is who they claim to be and confirm that the link included is actually a link to a legitimate website. When in doubt, go directly to the website under consideration and confirm that you have a notification related to the action in question.
3. The Miracle Cure
The U.S Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have seen an increase in companies claiming to have products which can treat or prevent the novel coronavirus. These companies prey on the consumer’s fear of contracting the virus and attempt to sell products such as oils, teas, and even colloidal silver. These products have no scientific evidence of treating or preventing the novel coronavirus. Additionally, there are no approved vaccines, drugs, or other products that can treat or prevent COVID-19 at this time.
With many governments around the world providing their citizens with financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to make sure that our readers are aware of the various types of scams that are being used to con individuals out of their hard earned money. We hope that you and your families are safe and well during these uncertain times, and are here to shed light on the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by scammers and malicious hackers alike, who prey on those who simply want to do what’s right for their friends and families. Make sure to subscribe to our mailing list to stay up to date with our latest content and feel free to contact us if you have any technical or information security related questions.
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