COVID-19: BE VIGILANT FOR CYBER SCAMS
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:
- Coronavirus.gov – https://www.coronavirus.gov
- World Health Organization (WHO) – https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and- response/counterterrorism-and-emerging-threats/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) – https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus\
As always, MNS Group is available to help your organization stay safe while under attack.