Scammers are always on the lookout for a new international scare. People act irrationally when they’re afraid, and scammers utilize this blind fear to trick people to do what they please.
As you may expect, scammers are using the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, to fool people into clicking malicious links. While we’re in the early phases of the virus where fake news spreads like wildfire, it’s a good idea to learn how to identify a scam based on COVID-19.
How Scammers Use the COVID-19 Fear
The predominant methods scammers use is phishing. This is when a scammer sends an email or message that contains fake news or information. This correspondence prompts the reader to click a link or download a file. This link or file then infects the computer with malware. Sometimes they may also encourage users to give them money.
As per the report above, scammers use one of the following methods to get people to click malicious links and files or donate money:
- The scammer poses as a medical organization and claims that a cure for the coronavirus has been found, which is being covered up by world governments. The scam points the user toward an infected document.
- The scammer poses as a governmental organization and states that the user has received a financial boon because of COVID-19, such as a tax refund. Any links or documents in this email lead to malware.
- The scammer claims to have information on how to prevent the spread of the virus and points the user to an infected document for more info.
- The scammer claims the virus has mutated in a devastating way, such as becoming airborne or developing deadlier symptoms. They then give a link to read more that leads to a malicious website.
- The scammer poses as a charity claiming to raise funds for a COVID-19 vaccine or for COVID-19 sufferers. They then ask for donations in Bitcoin to a wallet which is owned by the scammer.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and as the world fights back against COVID-19, scammers will adapt to the current events and tweak their scams to accordingly.
How to Combat COVID-19-Based Scams
As you can tell, COVID-19-related scams try to get people to act on impulse. As such, it’s a good idea to only trust the news coming from trusted sources. If you want to donate, be sure to give to verified charities instead of a random email sender.
If you receive an email or a message from an unknown sender making claims about COVID-19, be cautious. Don’t click on any links or attachments, and don’t act upon any advice it gives you.
Staying Safe in Worrisome Times
The COVID-19 threat causes a lot of fear and worry. Unfortunately, this is the perfect atmosphere for a scammer. Be careful with the information you accept in the coming weeks. If you see any suspicious links or attachments, don’t click them. At the same time, learn about the top Internet scams in 2020 and how to avoid them.