Coronavirus related scams are traveling almost as fast as the virus. With the fear of spreading the virus a healthy fear of falling prey to a Coronavirus scam is in order. The primary reason for cyberattacks, according to Verizon’s Annual Data Breach Investigations Report, is to steal your money. Safeguard your pocketbook and your identity by becoming informed on the latest scams.
Phishing emails usually appear to come from a credible agency like the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The email will ask you to click on or download a link that puts malware on your computer or redirects you to a website that steals your personal information. When trying to decide if an email is legitimate, red flag the emails with suspicious email addresses or lots of spelling errors. Also, don’t reply to emails requesting donations or personal information. If you have questions about whether the email is legitimate, you can reach out directly to the source (for example, calling the organization you think it is from, using a reputable number).
Mobile phone phishing, aka “Smishing”, is also common. If you receive a text message claiming you are “pre-approved for Coronavirus aid”, don’t click on the link. Scammers are egregiously using the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) to steal your money. Keep in mind the government will never ask you to pay a fee in order to receive your stimulus check. Another common type of scam may include family members and close friends calling you for money. Check the facts before you send them the money. Hang up the call or reach out directly to the relative or friend they are claiming to be.
Fake Websites and Apps
Look out for websites that claim to have remedies for the virus. When a real cure for the virus becomes available it will not be through online ads or unsolicited emails. Additionally, be suspicious of Coronavirus-tracking mapping sites. These sites are used to insert malware into your computer. Most of the time this bug takes data such as banking, password, and login information. An app called CovidLock claimed to map the virus spread in your area but locked phones and held them for ransom.
Furthermore, you want to be cautious when giving to charitable organizations. Before you open your pocketbook to give to a charitable organization, check the Federal Trade’s Commission’s Charity Scams page. You can also search for your charity on guidestar.org or give.org to make sure they are a legitimate organization.
Zero Trust Policies
Companies are embracing a Zero Trust policy in order to prevent data breaches. This latest IT security model, Zero Trust security, does away with the traditional castle-and-moat concept of allowing those in the network to be trusted automatically while making it difficult for those outside the network to obtain access. With Zero Trust security, everyone is required to pass strict identity verification whether they are inside or outside of the network perimeter. Approaching Coronavirus-related information with a Zero Trust policy is a good way to prevent yourself from scams.
The ways you may be scammed are limitless so it is important to stay vigilant and error on the side of caution. Remember, if it seems too good to be true then it probably is. Before you give away any credit card, bank account, or personal information, always verify that the organization requesting the information is legitimate. Adopting a Zero Trust policy will safeguard your money and data.