Warning: Scammers taking advantage of Coronavirus
There’s probably nothing that a scammer won’t try to capitalise on, and the feeling of panic which has been induced by the spread of Covid-19 is perfect subject matter for a scam.
It’s really important to be aware that we all act differently when our “fight or flight” reaction is triggered, and that we may need to think slowly in order to protect our savings.
We aren’t always clear-headed, and we may be anxious to get information in a time of crisis, but, if one thing is certain about coronavirus, it is that scammers will try to take advantage of us at a moment of weakness.
I’m not thinking of overpriced hand sanitiser and loo roll, but clever financial scams and identity thefts.
Scammers can, of course, work from home in “glorious” isolation.
We have received reports of a scam version of a fake online map of the spread of coronavirus, which installs malware and spyware, collecting usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and other data stored in the user’s browser.
Incidentally, the real version can be found at https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
Watch out for phishing scams – where an urgent-seeming email from what purports to be a legitimate provider tries to get someone to take an action that hands over information using COVID-19 news in the subject line and a fake ‘From’ field that appears to be from the provider to induce recipients to open and click (e.g. go here to reset your password to get key information about the coronavirus in your area!).
We need to be on our guard for scams at times of heightened stress.
If you get an email demanding urgent action, perhaps the best thing to do is to follow government guidance – wash your hands, sing happy birthday twice, and think about whether it’s a good idea to actually click on a link or hand over information.