The global pandemic is open-season for bad actors utilizing technology to prey on individuals. Several mechanisms are being employed where attackers profit from the crisis: phone calls (including robocalls), emails, text messages, fake and phishing websites, malicious ads on reputable sites, and fake apps. These scams/attacks vary greatly in content and sophistication and some may even be specific to a region or town. As always, be wary of any solicitation for personal and/or financial information related to COVID-19. 

To help you recognize these scams/attacks, here are the commonly observed topics we have observed: 

  • Corporate emails regarding new telework policies 
    Note: Because attackers may be spoofing your company’s domain, contact your manager and/or IT to verify an email’s authenticity before opening it.
  • COVID-19 maps for fee 
    Note: Info about COVID-19 cases in your area is available at no cost from a variety of trusted sources.
  • Promises of remedies or cures for COVID-19 or free at-home testing kits 
    Note: There is currently no cure for COVID-19 or FDA-approved at-home testing kits. 
  • Alleged messages from the CDC, WHO, or random medical experts offering medical advice.
    Note: The CDC & WHO will not contact you directly. Do not communicate with anyone attempting to sell medical advice. 
  • “Expediting” of checks or loans from the $2 trillion stimulus package
    Note: Those eligible for stimulus funds will either receive a direct deposit or a check in the mail. 
  • Stimulus checks in return for completing the 2020 Census questionnaire 
    Note: Eligibility for stimulus funds is not contingent on 2020 Census questionnaire completion. 
  • Unsolicited online payment of fines for violating shelter-in-place orders 
    Note: Local law enforcement will clearly inform you of penalties and how to pay fines if any are assessed. 

Additional topics we are seeing: Promises of free or inexpensive supplies and food in exchange for personal financial information, COVID-19 related tax refunds, alleged work-from-home opportunities, apps that claim to help protect you from COVID-19, COVID- 19 loan consolidation programs, IT scams (taking advantage of teleworkers), and wire fraud or gift card scams at work from alleged ‘senior management.’ 

What to do:

  • Ignore unknown callers, messages, and emails. 
  • Close all suspicious websites that attempt to elicit personal and/or payment information. 
  • Purchase from reputable online sources for supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE.) 
  • If you receive communication from someone you know but something is suspicious about the message, contact the sender using a different mode of communication to verify he/she sent the message- like a known telephone number.
  • Stay vigilant and remain informed about the pandemic. 

Use only trusted sources for the most accurate information about COVID-19: 

As always, MNS Group is available to help your organization stay safe while under attack.