Coronavirus – The Latest Cybersecurity Threat
With the coronavirus turning into a worldwide pandemic, this is a prime time for bad actors to take center stage. Fraudsters may attempt to send you emails, post social media pleas, send texts or make calls pretending to provide information or alerts about the coronavirus. The reality: scammers are trying to steal your information or get you to donate to fraudulent charities or causes.
The social engineering attacks using the coronavirus as its ploy may be harder to detect than other phishing attempts. According to Check Point Research, over 4,000 coronavirus-themed domains have been registered since January. Researches warn that many of these domains will probably be used for phishing attempts.
It’s always the right time to be on high alert and not fall victim to a phishing attack. But now, more than ever, remain vigilant for scams relating to the coronavirus. These scams are designed to steal your money, obtain your personal information and infect your computer.
Remain on High Alert:
- Take a good look at the sender’s email address. Fraudsters are designing emails that look legitimate, as if they are coming from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). They are creating domains that are very close to the real site’s domains, and scammers can use any name in the email “from” field.
- Be cautious of emails with a coronavirus or COVID-19 related subject line, attachment or hyperlink. Fraudsters will use attention-grabbing subject lines like “Coronavirus outbreak in your city – Emergency” or “Outbreak Safety Measure in your Neighborhood”
- Avoid clicking on links and attachments in unsolicited emails. Check the URL first and if you land on a website that doesn’t look right, immediately leave it. Researchers have spotted malicious emails that look like they are coming from the CDC asking for donations to fund various systems or initiatives – the CDC is a government agency funded by tax dollars, so it doesn’t solicit donations.
- Look out for spelling or grammatical errors. It isn’t a guarantee that a fraudulent email will have mistakes, but many do.
- Be wary of social media, texts or calls related to coronavirus or COVID-19.
- Never enter personal information into a website that shouldn’t be asking for it. A legitimate site will never ask for personal identifiable information or login credentials.
If you think you have fallen victim, there are several steps to take to protect your identity. Most importantly, immediately change all your passwords as soon as possible (and never use the same password more than once) and contact your financial institution(s).
Visit Ameris Bank’s financial advice site to read more about identity theft and fraud prevention.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.