ESET warns of scams that exploit coronavirus fears
March 18, 2020
COMMENTS

Double-check on those emails and fake donations that you make. 

A recent report published by ESET detailed how scammers have taken advantage of the current outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). With many places already in lockdown, scammers have taken advantage of various campaigns to gain financial profit.

“Scammers, too, have taken notice. Emergencies offer golden opportunities for con artists to launch fraudulent campaigns that feed off, and cash in on, the climate of concern,” Tony Anscombe, Global Security Evangelist and Industry Ambassador at ESET wrote in a security paper.

He highlighted the current fear of the ongoing health crisis is a great opportunity for scammers. Fake news, for example, is one of them. Scammers have used the World Health Organization’s (WHO) details to send out emails asking users to click on links that might potentially hijack their computers.

They made it clear that official emails from WHO should only be in this format: ‘person@who.int’ and nothing else. If the words after the @ don’t match who.int, then it is probably not genuine.

ESET affirms that you should only trust news that comes from trusted resources and not pop-up emails/messages that have been forwarded to you.

Another scam involves organizations asking for donations for vaccines for the coronavirus. At the moment, a vaccine has still not been developed, and it may take more than a year before that happens. Which is why you shouldn’t believe websites and emails asking for donations that would help fund vaccines.

“People who receive the coronavirus-themed emails are asked to send bitcoins to the attackers’ wallets. Despite this technique being only effective for a fraction of the users, when done on a global scale it can be financially attractive for the criminals,” the report said.

Also, double-check the websites where you order your face masks. A lot of users easily fall for masks that can supposedly block viruses. While genuine face masks exist, you must only purchase them from authorized resources.

These are just some of the few examples of how scammers are preying on people’s fear. The trick here is you have to remain vigilant and informed about the latest news so that you won’t be a victim.

ESET listed down some ways you can be safe online:

  • Avoid clicking on any links or downloading any attachments in unsolicited emails or texts from unknown sources, or even in trusted sources unless you’re absolutely sure that the message is authentic.
  • Ignore communications that ask for your personal information. If necessary, verify the contents of the message with the apparent sender or the organization that they (seemingly) represent, and do so via a different medium than the received message.
  • Be especially wary of emails that add to the sense of alarm and urge you to take immediate action or offer COVID-19 vaccines or cures.
  • Look out for fraudulent charities or crowdfunding campaigns.
  • Use reputable multi-layered security software that includes protection against phishing.

Stay safe everyone!

by Victor Philip Ortiz
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff. Passionate for all things tech - you’ll normally find him tinkering with the latest gadgets and computer peripherals. He is an avid collector of Blu-ray discs and occasionally plays on his Xbox.
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