Coronavirus [COVID-19] Phishing Emails

The current COVID-19 pandemic has cybercriminals on the loose. They have been taking advantage of this global crisis, preying on people’s fear, in order to obtain personal information and infect computers for profit. They scam people by sending phishing emails claiming to be from legit sources like the World Health Organization (WHO) or from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These spoofed emails supposedly contain safety measures and treatment for the virus, travel advisories, or the latest health bulletin. It may also have advertising links selling bogus COVID-related products like vitamins and supplements.

When receiving such emails, one must exercise these safety precautions:

  • Always bear in mind that health agencies like the CDC and WHO will never ask for personal details or login credentials thus do not give out any information. You may go directly to the agency’s official website if you need to verify facts and data.
  • Double check the sender’s email address by hovering over its name. Scammers will type in a fake one that closely resembles that of a legitimate source so watch out for spelling errors. Simply ignore or delete emails from senders you don’t know.
  • Avoid clicking any of the links included in the suspicious email you have received. Do not also open any attachments as this may download a malware into your device. Once installed, this would allow cybercriminals to monitor your computer activity and record your keystrokes giving them eventual access to your personal info like banking details.
  • Make sure that your computer is always up to date with the latest antivirus and anti-spyware programs. Watch out for the latest security updates, apply necessary patches, and have a good firewall.
  • News coverage about the coronavirus is truly overwhelming. Make yourself informed by going directly to reliable sources. Be vigilant not to fall prey into any of the phishing scams these cybercriminals are trying to exploit in the midst of public paranoia and panic.