Since news of the COVID-19 Coronavirus hit the headlines, email scammers have been taking advantage of fear and uncertainty to trick unsuspecting victims into giving out sensitive information or clicking malicious links. The phishing emails appear to come from legitimate sources such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO), and they claim to offer breaking news about the pandemic or information about high-risk areas near you. However, they are being sent by bad actors leveraging the outbreak for fraudulent activities.
Be highly skeptical of email that claims to provide vital information or goods related to the ongoing pandemic. Email designed to create a sense of urgency or provoke panic or fear is a good indication the sender is attempting to manipulate you into making hasty and impulsive decisions. Some things to look for that can tip you off to Coronavirus phishing include emails asking you to:
- Click a link
- Open an attachment
- Provide sensitive information, such as your username or password
Legitimate organizations like the CDC and WHO will NEVER:
- Ask for your username or password to access safety information
- Send email attachments you didn’t ask for
- Charge money to apply for a job, register for a conference, or reserve a hotel
- Conduct lotteries or offer prizes, grants, certificates or funding through email
- Solicit donations or appeal for funding through email
Phishing scams tailored to major news events aren’t new, and Coronavirus scams are showing no signs of slowing down. With the Coronavirus garnering an extraordinary amount of news coverage around the world, the phishing will almost certainly increase and continue to morph into a broader array of attacks.
To get the latest information about the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), visit the WHO and CDC web sites. These sites provide a wealth of information about how the disease is transmitted and how the government is responding, along with advice for keeping you and your family safe during the pandemic. The information on the WHO and CDC web sites are for public consumption and will never require you to submit login credentials to see it.