It’s an unfortunate reality that there are people out there trying to take advantage of the fear and uncertainty we’re all feeling due to COVID-19. From fake coronavirus cures to offers of government aid, online scammers are coming up with opportunistic new ways to separate you from your money. The good news is, once you know what you’re looking for, it’s easier to protect yourself. Read on to learn more about online scamming, get some tips to keep you safe, and find out what to do if you’ve been compromised.
What kind of scam are we talking about
The most common online scam is called phishing, and it’s an attempt to get valuable information from you through email, text messages, websites and more. Phishing relies on tricking you—into downloading a program that allows a scammer into your device, or into directly giving a scammer personal information—so they can gain access to your accounts, or even open new ones in your name.
Dos and don’ts to keep you safe
We know it can seem scary, but many scams follow the same formulas, and can be easily detected with a closer look. Here are some simple guidelines you can follow that help you see the warning signs and stay out of harm’s way.
- Be skeptical—No legitimate company or organization would ask you for your personal or login information.
- Follow up —Reach out to an organization directly if a request seems unusual or uncharacteristic.
- Check the details —Make sure the email address came from a reputable source and check text for spelling or grammatical errors, which are common in scams.
- Trust your gut —A big red flag is a sense of urgency—scammers want people to act without thinking. Also, offers that seem too good to be true often are.
- Give information away —Be suspicious of any requests for things like passwords or billing detail updates.
- Click without checking—Don’t click a link you aren’t absolutely sure about. If you’re on a desktop, you can mouse over the link to see where it goes. Otherwise, a best practice is to type in the URL yourself.
- Open attachments—Unless you’re sure you know the sender, an attachment should not be viewed, as it may compromise your device.
Think you’ve been compromised?
If you realize you’ve given away your credentials, change your password(s) immediately. In many instances, this is enough. If you’re concerned your identity has been stolen, identitytheft.gov is a great resource for next steps.
We’re here to help
These are unprecedented times we are living in and we all need to look out for each other. If you have any questions or need support please reach out to us at 1-888-882-3827. If you think your account has been compromised, please contact us as soon as you can.
Common COVID-19-related scams
- Emails made to look like they come from the CDC or WHO
- Offers of health advice or “cures” at a cost
- Fake workplace policy updates