Criminals are opportunists. As seen in the past, groups and individuals with malicious intentions view major news events as an opportunity to prey on the panicked public.
Fear can cause many individuals to let their guard down and fall victim to social engineering scams, phishing scams, non-delivery scams, auction fraud scams, and more.
Numerous international sources from other countries are reporting a rise in Coronavirus scams. Because of this, there’s expected to be a rise in scams within the US. Below you’ll find details on types of scams that are being encountered. We encourage you to be extra cautious during these times and advise you to not give out your social security number, bank account information, or debit/credit card numbers over the phone, through email, or on illegitimate websites.
These scams have become very popular. Cyber criminals are sending out mass emails pretending to be legitimate organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). For example, vicitims have received an email appearing to be from WHO with an attachment that supposedly contained vital information regarding the Coronavirus. If opened, this attachment actually caused various types of malware to infect the victim’s system. Victim’s may have even been prompted to enter their email login credentials to access the attachment in order for the criminals to collect login credentials. This can lead to further instances of financial crimes such as Business Email Compromise (BEC), PII theft, ransomware, account takeovers and more.
Learn how to spot a phishing email >> Phishing Email Red Flags
Social Engineering Scams:
Criminals are tapping into the social media donation trend to try and scam people out of their money. With the Coronavirus, many legitimate social media sites are seeking donations for charitable causes. Criminals are jumping on this bandwagon and are seeking donations to fraudulent causes. Before making a donation, make sure you know who you’re donating to.
Criminals can be incredibly sneaky. They’ll take advantage of supply shortages and claim to be selling, in this case, items such as medical masks, gloves, disinfectants, etc. Because of the shortage we are experiencing, they’re hoping you’ll make a hasty decision to purchase. The criminal will demand upfront payments or initial deposits. They will escape with your money and never complete the delivery of your items. If you’re attempting to make a purchase, ensure that you’re on a secure website and do not give your bank or card information out over the phone. Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Here’s a few more tips from the FBI on how to avoid a Non-Delivery Scam >> Tips for Avoiding Non-Delivery Merchandise