There is no mistaking it, COVID-19 a.k.a. the Coronavirus has changed all our lives. Streets are now empty as we shelter for the safety of our loved ones, venturing out only when it is necessary. And when we do so we want to be as safe as possible by wearing protective gear and using sanitizing gels. Due to the grand impact of the Coronavirus a shortage has occurred in these necessary products. Criminals always waiting for their next opportunity to strike have been targeting people with various scams during this great crisis. With this document we hope to alert the public to these malicious practices and hopefully prevent as many victims as possible.
Criminals are quick to turn a tragedy to profit, one of their preferred methods is phishing e-mails. Preying on the growing concern of the COVID-19 Pandemic, criminals send phishing e-mails that seem to contain important news about the pandemic seemingly from the WHO or other known health organizations. Another tactic used by criminals is to pretend to be the victims' bank with urgent request to verify information or click on a link or an attachment. The links lead to malicious sites that infect unsuspecting visitors with malware or promt the victim to enter valuable personal information for example banking credentials. The attachment could contain malware that steals valuable information, hold the victims computer ransom or a variety of other malware threats.
Due to the great shortage in certain healthcare products criminals are targeting concerned consumers wishing to buy protective gear and other goods. There are even those who pretend to sell medication that is a guarantee cure for the Corona Virus or Vaccines.
During times of crisis it is important that we come together and help each other. Criminals exploit this sentiment by creating fake charities to which the donations to not go to those in need but are pocketed by the criminals themselves.
- Make sure your computer is always up to date with the latest version of the Operating system and Anti-virus definitions;
- Do not click on links and/or attachments from unknown sources or from unwarranted e-mails;
- Always go directly to the website of the organization by using the legitimate web address; do not use those sent via e-mail! Do not click on any links in e-mail.
- Be wary of sellers that pander their products through social media platforms; check the sellers reputation
- Only buy products from reputable websites;
- Use a prepaid Visa/ Mastercard to do your online shopping;
- Know that banks will never contact you via e-mail, to ask for personal information, when in doubt call your bank;
- Before donating to charity, research the organization to make sure it is legitimate. Always call the publically available phone number to verify.