As seen in every major pandemic, epidemic or any other global difficulty that humanity has experienced, other than panicking, some people take this time as a prime period to scam others.
The pandemic of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is no exception. Scammers of all kinds are using this pandemic to steal, hurt and otherwise inconvenience other individuals who are only trying to survive in these trying times. The FBI has reported that there has been a considerable increase in frauds related to the Coronavirus.
What Should We Be On The Lookout For?
It is easy for us to help those we deem less fortunate via online forums, helplines, and donations. In this pandemic, we are also doing most if not all our purchasing online as well and in this scenario, we give up our account details, address and a whole host of personal information. The FBI is cautioning the general population against these irreputable scammers and their machinations as they are using the seemingly innocent online sites as a way of deceiving and entrapping their targets.
It is important to double the checks the links that we absent-mindedly click on that might be providing us with updated information on COVID-19 or sites which are ‘apparently’ accepting donations in the name of helping, airline carrier refunds or selling kits, vaccines and treatments, etc. These frauds are being carried out not only through certain links but via phishing emails as well. So, it is better to be on the lookout for CDC emails as well, as it is very likely that the information or the email is a fake.
Don’t think that you are safe if you immediately close the link that might be a fraudulent site, the simple act of opening a fraudulent site or email can lead to malware being injected into your system. Ransomware, which are a type of malware are being increasingly used to extract payment in exchange for the safe return of personal information or Gov. systems. So, in short, do not open emails from senders you don’t recognize.
How Do We Help In This War Against The Scammers?
The best way to help the authorities in counteracting these scams is to be cautious of anyone who is claiming to have the cure, vaccine, treatment or even a testing kit for COVID-19. Not only this but also be wary of anyone selling masks, sanitizing products like N-95 masks, gloves, goggles and the like. It is possible that they are not authentic and might do more harm than good.
If you have any knowledge about any of these counterfeit products, please report to the iprcenter.gov. Similarly, if you want to know any authentic information regarding COVID-19 check official CDC sites, which are www.cdc.gov and www.coronavirus.gov. The FBI, as well as all other authorities, would be most grateful for this help. In any case, if you believe that you are, have been or are suspicious of any criminal activity report post haste at www.ic3.gov.
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