Whenever there is fear, chaos and uncertainty, there are people who will take advantage of others. Unfortunately the Corona Covid-19 virus creates a ripe environment for scammers and way too many people will fall for it. Here are some things to watch out for:
Pfishing emails-pfishing emails are cyber attacks that use fake emails as a weapon. The goal is to trick the recipient into thinking it is real and have them click on a link or download an attachment. The fact that people are hungry for real information makes them susceptible to any email that "looks official" and promises goods or information. These emails can place malware on your computer, get private personal information or even get the recipient to divulge passwords and financial information.
Remember, pfishing emails use popular brands to trick consumers. The most popular are PayPal, Facebook, Microsoft, Netflix, Whats App, BofA, Apple, Chase....you get the picture. They can be quite real appearing with logos and language like "Your account has been breached and shut down." Yikes. That adds extra fear when a person may already be anxious about Covid.
Never quickly click open a link or download without investigating the email. There are a number of clues if you take your time.
Fake websites using known names-At the White House press conference today, Mike Pence encouraged people to donate to "ministries" during these tough times. Since most people are sheltering in place, that means those "donations" would be on-line and that is a dangerous recommendation. There are a number of new fake websites using known names and soliciting your hard earned money. As compassionate people we want to give to others. These fraudulent sites depend upon your goodness and have names like "Veterans Covid" and "Disaster Relief". And I've seen a number of religious ministries soliciting money for prayers. God does not need your money and has never used extortion.
Do Not send any money to any organization unless you are 100% sure it is real and that your money is going to a good cause and not just some scammer's pocket.
Fake websites that claim they can treat or cure disease-In an information vacuum, many scammers just MSU. (MSU-Make Stuff Up).
Many websites look scientific or use lots of letters to sound official. These sites spread bad information and many would like you to buy phony products that will treat or cure Corona Virus, like pills, lotions, or lozenges.
Others want you to order products that are in high demand and you will never receive a thing.
Just know that this crisis is a playground for scammers, crooks and foreign governments that want to contribute to chaos.
Think before you click. Don't spread fakery. Trust Science and Doctors. We have your best interest in mind.