Burton Kelso, Tech Expert
7 Cyber Scams To Watch Out for During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
In any national or global crisis, you can count on cyber criminals to find ways to take advantage of people and the COVID-19 crisis is no exception. Fear and misinformation create a perfect storm that allows scammers to use technology to trick you out of your hard-earned money. While you are spending your time online and social media during this period of social distancing, here are some scams you need to watch out for.
I want to remind you that 99% of Cybercrime requires user interaction. As long as you keep your devices updated and use adequate virus protection software, your technology devices are safe from being hacked. When you hear of companies falling victim to ransomware attacks, smart home devices getting compromised, it's because people weren't taking steps to protect themselves. If you don't want your devices and accounts getting hacked, use strong passwords and don't give out your information. Here is the list of scams to avoid.
1. Phishing and Malware scams. Phishing and malware scams are the most common ways cybercriminals try to access your personal data. Phishing occurs when criminals send false emails or make phones pretending they are from a trustworthy source to try to convince you to share your sensitive data such as passwords or credit card information. Malware stands for malicious software, which is software designed to get access to your computer and smart devices without your knowledge. The biggest threats come from people who are posing as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
2. Investment scams. Beware of online promotions on social media and email, informing you that products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure the coronavirus, causing the stock of these companies to dramatically increase in value as a result.
3. Shopping Scams. Keep your eye on e-commerce websites, social media accounts, and emails from people and stores claiming to sell medical supplies currently in high demand. Supplies might include things like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and surgical masks. When you make purchases from these fake stores, criminals will keep your money but you will never see the products you purchased.
4. Charity scams. Whenever there is a crisis, you need to always watch out for individuals and companies asking for donations for people and groups affected by the coronavirus.
5. Medical scams. Watch out for calls and emails from people pretending to be hospitals and medical professionals that have treated your friends and family for the coronavirus and demand payment for treating them. Standard hospital practices still apply during this crisis and payment information will be collected at the hospital.
6. App scams. Apps are a popular way to infect smart devices like phones and tablets. Criminals and creating fake mobile apps that claim to track the spread of COVID-19. Once the app is downloaded to your device, it will install malware on your device which is designed to steal your personal information. Curently, the only approved app to download to Apple and Android for tracking the COVID-19 virus is from https://www.healthlynked.com/
7. Zoom Bombing. Zoom has become a popular choice for people to communicate while working at home and hackers have taken notice. Zoom Bombing is when creeps and criminals alike force their way into your Zoom meetings. Sometimes they are just disruptive by using vulgar language or sharing pornographic images. Other times, they will attempt to send files to your device in an attempt to infect them with malware or viruses. To prevent Zoom Bombing, do the following:
1. Add a Zoom meeting password
2. Disable File Transfers
3. Disable "Join Before Host"
4. Change Screen sharing to “host-only”
5. Disable the feature to "Allow removed participants to rejoin”
Cyber scams will constantly evolve just like technology does. Always stay vigilant and make sure you're keeping track of the latest data breaches, using different passwords on all of your online accounts and backing up your critical information at home and work to make sure your information and money stay out of the hands of cybercriminals.
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