Recently, cyber criminals have been capitalizing on the COVID-19 outbreak by using the pandemic event as a topic in various scams. These scam attempts are disguised as trustworthy resources claiming vital information regarding COVID-19. It is important to be reminded that although an email or website may contain convincing wording, links or attachments regarding updates on the virus, they may be also be on a malicious espionage mission.
Cyber actors have been sending emails containing dangerous attachments or links that lead to fraudulent websites where an individual is tricked into sharing their personal information, including login details. The phishing scams have been increasing in numbers as scammers take advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak.
In a recent article by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), individuals are being advised to take caution when encountering any emails with subject lines, attachments, or hyperlinks regarding COVID-19. The CISA is also warning people about social media pleas, texts or calls, as they could also be a part of a scam.
To stay safe and defend your sensitive, personal information, here are some shared tips by the CISA:
- Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments. See Using Caution with Email Attachments and Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Scams for more information.
- Use trusted sources—such as legitimate, government websites—for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19.
- Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information.
- Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations. Review the Federal Trade Commission’s page on Charity Scams for more information.
- Review CISA Insights on Risk Management for COVID-19 for more information.
Amid hackers’ scamming attempts, you should always remain skeptical of emails and websites. Make sure to confirm and legitimize the primary source of the communication and be on the lookout for signs of phishing scams. For reliable information related to COVID-19, please visit this page from the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s website.