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Protect Yourself during COVID-19

Online Scams

Cybercriminals are using the Coronavirus pandemic as a phishing lure. Experts expect to see an increase in exploits related to COVID-19 as publicity around the virus increases Here are some tips and information to keep your identity and information protected in these challenging times. 

Key points:

  • COVID-19 is being used as a phishing scam lure by cybercriminals 
  • Cybercriminals are using trusted brands, like World Health Organization (WHO) & U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), to build credibility & entice users into opening attachments

What can you do?

  • Don't be fooled by legitimate-looking branding on messages you receive, as many cybercriminals use identical colors and logos of reputable sites.
  • Cybercriminals will also often use language that conveys a sense of urgency, so be alert and not pressured to take action.
  • If you want COVID-19 news, navigate directly to the WHO & CDC websites. Use best practices by typing web addresses directly into your internet browser & use Google Search to search for sites.
  • Don't put your credentials into third-party sites unless you're 100% certain sure you're on the correct site.
  • Do not click on or visit any suspicious sites.

Stimulus Scams 

Fraudsters haven’t wasted any time with scams related to the coronavirus. In response to the federal stimulus package,the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported that fraudsters have deployed a variety of scams involving coronavirus stimulus checks. The BBB Scam Tracker has received several reports of coronavirus scams where individuals are contacted through text messages, social media post /messages, or phone calls.

One version of the scam targets seniors through a Facebook post informing them that they can get a special grant to help pay medical bills. The link within the post takes them to a bogus website claiming to be a government agency called the “U.S. Emergency Grants Federation” where they are asked to provide their Social Security Number to verify their identity. In other versions, fraudsters claim individuals can get additional money –up to $150,000 in some cases. The victims are asked to pay a “processing fee” to receive a grant.

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