What should not come as much of a surprise to anyone, criminals are using COVID-19 as a jumping point for new scam call campaigns and phishing email attacks. These attacks have become so prevalent that the CDC has released a statement and some helpful tips on how to make sure your sensitive information stays safe.
There are many apps and websites that allow people to disguise their phone number and identity. Phone scammers are using these apps and websites to make it appears as if their phone call is originating from within the CDC. Either through direct conversation or by leaving a voicemail, these scammers attempt to have you reveal sensitive information about yourself (credit card information, social security, etc.). These kinds of acts are considered “impersonation fraud” but are challenging to track down and pursue due to how they originate.
To keep yourself safe, avoid picking up the phone when you do not recognize the number. If you do happen to pick up, do not reveal any sensitive information over the phone to someone you do not know, regardless of who they claim to be affiliated with. If you find yourself on the phone with someone to suspect to be a scammer, hang up on them immediately, block the number they called from, and report them to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Phishing emails are malicious emails created by cybercriminals in an attempt to steal your sensitive information. Phishing attacks have always been around, but with COVID-19, cybercriminals have a convincing means of scaring and persuading some people to either give out confidential information or access their machine by clicking malicious links.
Phishing emails, similar to the scam phone calls, are disguising themselves as emails sent from the CDC. These emails contain attachments regarding infection-prevention measures. These attachments are usually embedded with viruses that can steal your information and track your online browsing.
Protecting yourself from phishing attacks in simple but must be continuously practiced when online. Here are a few safety tips:
- Never open emails from someone you do not know
- Be careful when obtaining information regarding COVID-19 from third parties. Go directly to the government website for official updates and safety tips.
- If links are embedding within the email, hover over them before clicking on them to see where they will take you.
- If the email comes from someone you do not know, do not open attachments.
- Never provide sensitive information over email, to anyone.
Staying Safe; Online and Offline
Coronavirus has caused Americans many issues regarding work and general health safety. Unfortunately, people out there have sought to take advantage of this situation and cause more havoc. We hope that this information finds you and your data safe and well during these trying times. If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call! We are happy to assist!