Beware of Phishing Scams During COVID-19

Written by Ashley Johnson

Apr 10, 2020

04/10/2020

With technology progressing rapidly along with the Coronavirus, it is getting harder for everyone to identify scams. Phishing scams are very important to stay away from, but they can be tough to detect. According to Phishing.org, phishing is a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone, or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution. They lure individuals into giving them credit card details, passwords, and other personally identifiable information that can result in identity theft and financial loss. One of the most popular ways phishers find their victims is through email. If you receive an email with the following components, it may be a phishing email.

Hyperlinks

Look out for faulty hyperlinks. When hovering over a link it shows you the URL where you will be directed to. It could direct you to a hacker’s domain where they can ask for personal information. Or it could be a popular website that’s misspelled, so pay close attention to the URL spelling.

Suspicious Emails

If you receive an email that’s claiming you won a big prize such as, a Mac laptop or an iPhone for doing absolutely nothing, don’t click on it! Many lucrative offers and eye-catching statements are designed to catch people’s attention. Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it is!

Urgency

One main tactic cybercriminals like to use is, “act fast! These deals are only for a limited time.” If you receive an email asking you to respond quickly, its most likely a scam. Most reliable organizations will give you plenty of time to respond, especially if its pertaining to an account possibly getting terminated.

During the rising of COVID-19, phishing scams are becoming more and more relevant. According to the FBI, people are trying to steal money by sending out fake charity and CDC emails. It is very important for everyone to be very skeptical when offered anything related to health during this time. It is vital that you verify the information that’s given before clicking the link. Mesilla Valley Transportation suggests you do the following to prevent phishing attacks:

  • Change browser settings to prevent fraudulent websites from opening.
  • Change your passwords on a regular basis and never use the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Use spam filters. However, spam filters may block emails from legitimate sources as well, so it isn’t always 100 percent accurate.
  • Never provide personal information to someone you haven’t thoroughly checked out.
  • Check email addresses carefully. Make sure they match the organization the sender claims to represent.
  • If it sounds fishy, don’t click it!

It is vital that we educate ourselves in order to protect one another. Emails that are sent by cybercriminals are disguised to appear like they are trying to help. Don’t fall for it. Make sure you do your research before giving anyone any personal information. You’ll thank us later.

 

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