Scammers Leveraging Coronavirus Fears

It isn't new for scammers to try to capitalize on things causing widespread concern. Scammers like to take advantage of fear in their targets because it makes them more likely to react. This was the case when Microsoft announced the end of support for Windows 7, Server 2008 and Server r2. Users were targeted with a Microsoft expiring license scam

This is now the case with the Coronavirus. The FTC and FDA are warning that scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus

In February, the FTC warned in a blog post that scammers follow the headlines. Scammers are trying to capitalize on the Coronavirus by selling treatments that are fake and do not work, as well as sending fake emails and text messages to try to gain money and personal information. 

According to the FTC, the emails appear to be informative, but are spreading false information by "offering advice on unproven treatments" or might contain attachments that infect your computer with malware when they are opened. The scammers "may also be asking you to donate to victims" but the money will just be pocketed by them. 

A few tips from the FTC

The FTC has released some tips to help avoid falling victim to Coronavirus scams. These tips include:

  • Not clicking on links or attachments from unknown sources. if you weren't expecting an attachment or link from anyone, do not click it. Clicking a malicious link or attachment can cause your computer to be infected with malware.
  • Sources to especially look out for that scammers are impersonating include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organizationn (WHO). 
  • Only donate to charities that are legitimate. Do not feel pressured by anyone to donate. The same goes for investment opportunities. A lot of people are worried due to the unknown of how they will receive money for their bills with so many jobs closing. It is important to remember that scammers are trying to capitalize on this fear.
  • Be on the lookout for ads claiming to offer vaccinations or treatments. If a vaccination or treatment was available, it would be announced by a trustworthy source, such as the CDC or WHO. 

The FTC has created a list of companies who they have sent warning letters to for pitching products that will cure or prevent the Coronavirus. They are not legitimate.

With the increase in phishing scams surroung the Coronavirus, check out Follow these Tips to Avoid Falling Victim to Phishing Emails