Coronavirus Scams are all around the globe now. Online scammers prey on vulnerable individuals by obtaining their data and information to enhance their revenue. Out in full force, they are taking advantage of the uncertainty and fear encircling COVID-19.
While the government of each country facing this pandemic is assiduously working hard to limit and ultimately eradicate it, Scammers, on the other hand, are only devising more means to devour susceptible, and already-stressed citizens.
Regrettably, many have fallen to their prey. But you don’t have to be a victim! Below are seven of the scams you must be on the lookout for and vital tips to keep you away from being a victim.
7 Coronavirus Scams to Watch out for and Tips to Avoid Them
1. Fraudulent Websites
These come in various ways. For instance, it could be an IT-themed website that claims to help people work remotely.
Also, there are Coronavirus websites that claim to help the afflicted.
Furthermore, since having a fast and reliable internet connection is essential to handle remote work efficiently, alley boredom as people stay indoors, scammers, with their vast knowledge, have smartly trick these individuals into divulging vital information and eventually downloading malware as they disguise themselves as either IT experts, government representatives, and helpdesk expert.
Additionally, since contact information of most companies is made global, it’s already a fertile land for scammers to have direct access to their prospective prey.
They can send data that will warrant that a person download a file. Attackers can call their victims and seek for remote access to assist with setup. All in all, what they aim at is to obtain sensitive data from your company.
Coronavirus websites are also another problem. Experts have even said these sites are 50% more likely to be scammy than regular sites.
Take, for instance, some scammers have even targeted great map tracking the coronavirus infection rates using malware that will demand that a viewer download a file, and this file will eventually compromise his system.
Take, for example, Johns Hopkins’ famous Coronavirus dashboard has been a source for many to stay updated, yet, scammers have designed an imitation map that appears like the legitimate one.
Embedded in it is a malware that steals a person’s credit card details, passwords, and username, and other vital data stored in the browser. How can you outwit these fraudsters?
- Check if the Website’s Url begins with “https.” If Yes, the site is a secured website.
- Check the WHOIS Information
- Confirm the location information on that website and check the “Consumer Protection Agency.”
- Before you click on any link, Type the heading of the document on “Google” to know what people are saying about it.
- If it is work-related, communicate with your Boss first.
- Disregard any Covid-19 maps you find on social media. Don’t even open.
- Double-check any link before you click
- Don’t click on unsolicited emails, URLs, and malicious documents. Visit the website directly yourself.
- Don’t give attention to phishing emails that claim to have an origin from a medical organization.
- Stay firmly to the verified and approved Covid-19 tracking maps
Be prudent and pay attention to these tips so you can fight these engineering techniques.
2. Donation to Non-profit Organizations
There is an uptick in the rate of scams that demands gifts from folks to assist the less privileged. While I was surfing a popular website, I stumbled on one too. The techniques will be so appealing to your charitable soul.
These fraudsters take advantage of philanthropists who are moved with pity and want to assist those undergoing severe pain.
Apart from the fact that your donations will be sent to a criminal, you are also at high risk—you risk compromising financial and personal data.
For instance, these donation sites will place malware on your system, and they can confidently have access to your card’s sensitive details.
How to Avoid this:
- Stay off Unrequested Solicitations
- If you’d need to make donations use already existing reputable charitable organizations you know
- Do some research online using these organizations
People with suspected cases of Coronavirus will have to divulge some valuable personal information to health workers for effective treatment.
Taking advantage of the increase in the death toll from COVID-19, Online scammers are now impersonating health officials tricking people into divulging their personal information.
There are identified phishing scams where fraudsters claim to be World Health organizations or Center for Disease Control via emails.
Smart thinkers have even raised concerns that some individuals can visit houses claiming to be health workers wanting to carry out tests. Divulging your data is highly risky and will have sad consequences.
What You Can Do:
- Never allow any stranger in your house, irrespective of the claims.
- Don’t panic. This will help disregard any phishing email you get
- Stay connected to the right source of obtaining information
- If you miss particular news, search for it on YouTube.
- Discreetly report any case of impersonation. (Keep the contact details of your country’s Center for Disease Control at hand)
4. Text Messages
Expect to see more text messages claiming that you have issues with your bank details, install an app to check your status, call a number, and more.
When you get them, put your mind at rest. Any Bank issue you will have must be solved at the Branch office, not via the phone.
An expert, Hijazi, said, you can expect more text message scams in the coming weeks, they will use known platforms to lure people into clicking a link, installing an app or calling a phone.
Falling prey to one of these Coronavirus scams will lead to financial fraud and information theft. They will adopt different pretexts, which include local warnings about the virus, notices on quarantine cancellation, or claims.
In countries where there is an upsurge in the number of those positive, citizens have been mandated to “stay at home.” This development has made Scammers capitalized on that, thus sending text messages to citizens claiming it’s a palliative from the Government.
What to Do:
- Don’t reply directly to any malicious text.
- Treat your information like the way you’ll treat your eyes.
- Links in the text message shouldn’t be clicked.
5. Products Claiming Coronavirus Cure
In developed countries, offers like this will come as an email offering. But trust me, you’ll find nothing other than a phishing scam that’s set up to rip you off and steal your information.
Scott Grissom, the chief product director at LegalShield, reports that we can expect more reports of medical and potential consumer scams.
As indicated by the Federal Trade Commission, currently, there are no pills, over-the-counter products, vaccines, lozenges, or other medically approved treatment for COVID-19.
As a consumer, you must steer clear of products that claim to cure Coronavirus.
Gladly, researchers are working all around-the-clock to find a valid and reliable cure. In case one is available, governmental authorities will notify You.
What You Can Do:
- Pay attention to only verified sources of information
- Report any individual selling such drugs
- Before making any purchase of safety gear, check the website. (Some individuals sell inferior, expensive, and used items even on platforms like Amazon and Walmart.
- Avoid sodium chlorite solutions.
- Don’t forward unverified videos that claim to have remedies to cure Covid-19
6. Scammy Investments
Many who have been home for days or even weeks now might struggle to do something worthwhile. Scammers will take advantage of that. How?
They do this by promising an individual a higher-return investment claiming that it is safe and risk-free.
Coronavirus scammers are out in full force to capture individuals that aren’t informed, those desperate to make money and trust that there will always be a profitable and safe investment alternative without risks.
While this article isn’t preaching idleness, you just have to be very careful.
How to Identify an Investment Scam:
- Verify credentials
- Never Purchase “Phantom” Riches (promising absolute returns)
- Discard “everyone is doing it” mantra (It comes with this story)
- It Rushes you. Don’t be rushed!
- Arm yourself with valid information
What to do if you are in Dire Need of Money:
- Borrow fund from an individual that offers a flexible payment plan
- Learn a new skill using a small part of the fund you borrowed.
- Manage what you have. You can practice living well for less.
If you are an investor, be on the lookout too for notifications claiming to emanate and from respective portfolio managers and fund advisers.
Sadly, this is proliferating across the internet. This is a big issue. As stated by Hijazi, “the tech company that is striving hard to clamp down on scams and inaccurate Coronavirus information hasn’t birthed any success; they are having a difficult time controlling it.”
There are so many motives behind the circulation of lies all over the internet. There are lots of theories and propagandas. However, you can personally fight against these lies. How?
- Only use the World Health Organization as your ultimate source of information relating to Covid-19.
- Delete or do not broadcast social media postings that claim to be from experts
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and WHO are still the most valuable and updated sites for verification.
Coronavirus Scams: Summary of the 7 Scams Discussed
Sadly, the spread of COVID-19 Scams will continue to progress as long as scammers are making profits from it.
That means you should always protect yourself. And frankly, common sense is just among the best defenses you can have.
Are you working from home? The way you handle information in the office should be applied at home too.
Take extra caution when visiting websites that are duplicates of famous sites. Check into the domain name, in some cases, you will find typo errors in the imitation site. For instance, Who.com could be Whoo.com.
Be wary of anyone who claims to be a company’s helpdesk. Call your IT department immediately if you need full verification.
Always update any software you have on your phone or the computer. Use Multi-factor Authentication in signing to any software or services. Additionally, utilize a VPN network to help encrypt your data and keep your internet connection very safe.
If a person approaches with an investment that seems too good to be true, don’t do it. Every profitable business requires substantial risks.
If you come in contact with a pushy salesperson, consult a registered financial institution for accurate advice.
- Look carefully at the address of an email sender
- Never click on links in a mail
- Never open attachment from those you don’t know
- If it has a sense of urgency, be cautious.
- Never divulge any personal information to anyone.
Conclusively, scammers will always want to prey on you. But with this information on Coronavirus scams, you can remain smart and cautious.