Not even an economy-stopping pandemic will stop fraudsters. As more nations feel the grip of the increasing health crisis, scammers are taking full advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to send fake emails to people tricking hapless victims into clicking on malicious links or attachments and revealing their personal information.
COVID-19 Cyber Security Scam Alert
A COVID-19 phishing email looks like a normal email complete with authentic-looking logos and branding. They often use the World Health Organization’s branding or logos or use the same from other public or government health agencies. Know that phishing is not limited to email, as some fraudsters resort to calling Canadian homes with offers of fake laboratory testing or fraudulent requests for donations.
How to Avoid a COVID-19 Scam
Scammers will send emails that will attempt to get your personal information or install malware into your mobile device or computer. Some will look like a donation link designed to capture your credit card information. Take the following steps to avoid becoming a victim.
- Practice skepticism. No matter how authentic looking an email may be, try to be more skeptic and nitpick details in the email. If the email contains email addresses, toll-free numbers, or website links, you can double check by using a known email address, website, or email of the organization to avoid clicking on fake links and contacting the scammers directly. If you want to verify some information, know that the right information will be posted on your provincial health agency’s website or the Public Health Agency of Canada website.
- Always check the email address of the sender. Phishing emails use sender addresses or names that may look like the real thing, but if you hover on the sender’s name, the actual email doesn’t match the sender at all.
- Avoid clicking on attachments or links. Embedded links in phishing emails seem valid, but the address it links to is definitely not. If the link address seems suspicious or does not seem connected to the highlighted text, there is a big possibility that it is a phishing email. If there are any attachments that aren’t expected or seem out of place, it might be infected with malware.
- Be more vigilant. If an email is requesting for your financial information or personal data, that may be fake.
- Make sure that your devices are protected. Installing anti-spam, anti-malware, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software can seem like being too cautious but you’ll be happy that you have them for protection in case of a possible attack.
What to do with a Phishing Email
You can’t avoid receiving phishing emails because they are everywhere. What you can do is either report them or delete/block them. You can report the email to the organization being spoofed so that they can issue the necessary warnings for other people. By blocking or deleting the email, you can save yourself some wasted time and headache down the road.
Aside from checking the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre for a compiled list of COVID-19 scams, you can stay tuned in this blog for more news on COVID-19 fraud. You can also check the government of Canada approved information regarding COVID-19 at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html. If you think that you may have been a victim of phishing or identity theft, do not hesitate to contact us. Our private investigators can help you with the necessary steps to protect yourself against phishing scams as well as gather data that you may need for an official police report using our private investigation services.
- OPP Warns Canadians Not to Fall for New Online Health Scams Related to COVID-19 - June 2, 2020
- Is the Coronavirus Causing an Increase in Cyber Affairs? - May 21, 2020
- COVID-19 Insurance Scams to Watch Out For - May 11, 2020