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COVID-19 Fraud Education
Protect Yourself from Cybercriminals!
Unfortunately, during times of crisis, scams and criminal activity increase. It's important to be aware that some people will try to take advantage of COVID-19 by using fraudulent websites, phone calls, emails, and text messages claiming to offer help. However, they are actually trying to trick you into providing your Social Security number, bank account numbers, and other valuable details. Below are some examples of the various scams that are actively being used.
Avoid sites such as Coronavirus.com or Corona-virus-map.com. Since January, there have been thousands of websites registered containing the word 'corona' and many of those are suspicious and many of them distribute malware.
Watch for emails trying to grab your curiosity by using catchphrases to try and sell information or goods that are now in high demand, such as masks, hand sanitizers or vitamins.
Be on the lookout for phishing emails that may appear to come from a trusted source. Never click on unknown attachments or links or provide personal information via an unsecure website. The scammers have crafted emails that appear to come from legitimate sources, but they actually contain malicious phishing links or dangerous attachments. There are also emails that claim to have a "new" or "updated" list of cases of Coronavirus in your area. These emails contain dangerous links - don't click on them.
Use caution when making online donations. Go directly to a charity's website by independently confirming the address. Never click on a link in an e-mail or on a random website because it may lead to a fake site. Be especially cautious of emails and websites that ask for charity donations for studies, doctors, or victims that have been affected by the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Here are some general guidelines you should always follow to keep your personal and financial information safe:
- Never divulge your bank or credit card numbers or other personal information over the phone unless you initiated the conversation with the other party and you know that it is a reputable organization.
- Be on guard if someone contacts you claiming to be government employees or volunteers and who ask for personal financial information or money.
- Reject offers to cash a check for someone in exchange for a fee, even if the bank makes the funds available to you right away, as it may later turn out that the check was fraudulent.
- Never click on links or open attachments from an email that you weren't expecting.
Stay safe, and contact us mmediately if you have been a victim of any of these scams. Or report COVID-19 related scams to the National Center for Disaster Fraud https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud.