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Phishing Scams May Catch You Off Guard

Malicious People Have Always Preyed on Uncertainty and Fear – Now More Than Ever, It’s Time to Keep Your Guard Up. Here’s What’s Happening in the World of Coronavirus-Related Threats.

Nothing lends a bit of credibility to a scam like the mention of national headlines does. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of collective uncertainty and fear right now more than ever before, but that’s not surprising. Unfortunately, many of their scams are so convincing that they’re bound to catch quite a few people off guard. As organizations continue to deal with the global health crisis at hand – embracing remote work as a way to maintain social distancing, we’re tasked with yet another challenge: handling an influx of coronavirus-related threats.

Over the past couple of months, the FBI has received thousands of complaints regarding these coronavirus-related threats. An FBI alert was released:

“Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both. Don’t let them. Protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus…” They also warned people to “lookout for phishing emails asking you to verify your personal information to receive an economic stimulus check from the government,”

The FBI Has Issued Detailed Alerts Regarding Scams Related to a Range of COVID-19 Topics…

Roughly 6,000 coronavirus or COVID-19 themed domains have been registered over the past couple of months. These domains are said to be 50% MORE likely to be malicious compared to other domains. Cybercriminals appear to be targeting individuals through:

  1. Phony domains containing malicious software – typically offering a download for up-to-date information, cloud/remote access tools, and more.
  2. Phishing emails requesting sensitive information or tricking the victim into downloading malicious software or clicking a link to a phony domain.

The FBI has issued detailed alerts regarding scams related to a range of topics to look out for, including the following:

Not Sure If It’s Legitimate? Here are a Few Examples of What to Watch Out For Right Now…

If you’re unsure, it’s always best to delete the email and move on. Although the FBI’s alerts help understand the threats out there, here’s a look at what to watch out for right now:

  • Any alerts, updates, or information, whether it’s through an email or on the web, about the pandemic claiming to be from the WHO, CDC, or other governmental agencies.
  • Any offers for free video conferencing tools or other remote access solutions, whether it’s through an email or on the web.
  • Any deals or purchase orders for masks, sanitizers, and other health and safety products that aren’t from a credible source.

Your safest bet is to type in the URL of the legitimate website and get updates or information from there. If you receive an email about a purchase order, check with your leadership team to verify if they made a purchase and, if so, call the supplier directly to ask for an update.

Remember These Top Three Signs of a Phishing Email or Phony Domain…

Now that you have an idea of the context of these coronavirus-related phishing emails and phony domains, here are the top five signs it’s not safe to click, reply or download anything from an email or website:

  1. Spelling and/or grammar errors: Legitimate organizations will be careful with spelling and/or grammar, whereas cybercriminals often leave mistakes riddled throughout their efforts.
  2. Urgent action required: If there’s a sense of urgency, it’s likely a scam. This often comes in the form of an “act now, or we will terminate your account/stop your shipment/etc.
  3. Slight differences in the address: Look carefully at the email domain or website URL to spot any slight differences from the legitimate organization. For instance, World Health Organization vs. World Health Center or Wrld Health Organization.

Feeling uncertain about an email or website? Get in touch with our team, and we’ll check it out for you. Use the chatbox or call us at (719) 204-6516.

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