Scammers use COVID-19 to profit off of fear

As people around the world are filled with fears and concerns about COVID-19, criminals are using our fear to try and steal money and our personal information by generating social engineering scams via email, U.S. mail, text, and phone.

The U.S. Secret Service said in a statement warning the public: “Coronavirus is a prime opportunity for enterprising criminals because it plays on one of the basic human conditions … fear.” (Source: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Phishing Alert, secretservice.gov) (PDF download)

“Fear can cause normally scrupulous individuals to let their guard down and fall victim" to scams, the statement added.

What can you do to avoid being scammed? (Source: Spam and Phishing, staysafeonline.org)

  • Don’t reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in email.
  • Before sending or entering sensitive information online, check the security of the website by:
    • Looking at the web address in your browser to make sure it begins with https://
    • Verifying that a closed padlock appears in your web browser. Click on the padlock to reveal the name of the company and that the “Connection is secure.”
  • Pay attention to the website’s URL.Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com versus .net).
  • If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Contact the company using information provided on an account statement, not information provided in an email. Check out the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) to learn about known phishing attacks and/or report phishing.
  • Keep a clean machine. Keep all software on internet-connected devices – including PCs, smartphones and tablets – up to date to reduce risk of infection from malware.

Scams to be aware of: (Source: Coronavirus What the FTC is Doing, consumer.ftc.gov)

Related information:

Beware of COVID-19 phishing attempts and websites (Source: it.wisc.edu)

Learn how to recognize and report phishing (Source: it.wisc.edu)

Scams to avoid: protecting your online identity (Source: it.wisc.edu)




Keywords:COVID-19 scams social engineering cybersecurity U.S. Secret Service Federal Bureau of Investigation relief check phishing spam coronavirus test kit corona virus covid 19   Doc ID:100303
Owner:ERIK G.Group:DoIT Communications KB
Created:2020-04-08 15:12 CDTUpdated:2020-04-27 14:24 CDT
Sites:DoIT Communications KB, DoIT Help Desk
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