As the global tension and rising cases of COVID-19 cause mass hysteria among the general public, phishing scammers and hackers are trying to take illicit advantage of the situation for personal gains. Various instances of email scams have come into limelight amid that are directly or indirectly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In these tough times, when people are already struggling with significant backsliding in businesses and their investments, a scam is the last thing they need. So, beware of these scams via emails and save yourself from giving away money. You need it more than ever right now.
Email Scams Asking Financial Help Under Medical Emergencies
A large number of people, especially the less tech-savvy senior individuals, are being targeted by emails asking for medical help. Many are asking money to help them cope with COVID-19 treatments. But, others sought transactional problems in their accounts. These emails look genuine, and the senders promising to pay back as soon as their accounts are functional again makes it more believable.
Such emails are meant to lure people emotionally for money disguised as a medical help. While this is one example of direct favors asked via a personal email, some scammers are posing as charities to extort money from people. There are many emails where the senders are claiming to be charity organizations that are generating crowdfunding to help hospitals, medical facilities, or care homes to fight COVID-19 scams. There are indeed many charities who are working to help hospitals contain the spread, but they are individually registered and are operating legally.
Phishing scammers are citing actual problems one can always hear on the news to make their cry for help more reasonable. For example, there are reports from all over the world of the sudden shortage of surgical masks and hand sanitizers in drug stores. Scammers would send you emails faking an organization that is donating this equipment to people and patients, and they need financial support to keep on with their work.
Word of advice –do not reply or press on any redirecting link mentioned in these emails and certainly do not enter any financial detail or bank-login credential on any portal.
Other Email Scams Robbing People of their Accounts
While sitting at home, if anyone receives an email telling him/her that there is a problem in his/her bank account or that account has frozen, it will be a massive shock to that person. This is one of the attempts scammers are making to scare off users and leading them to click on malware links in phishing emails.
Also, there are no emails from the Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization citing information on COVID-19 spread. These organizations have their websites where information is regularly updated about the spread and the measures one must take to prevent it.
Other scams are disguised as giveaways and offers/discounts on internet plans, streaming service accounts, and household items to buy online. It is advised to not to believe in any such offers. No firm/company/service provider will send a direct email to inform of a discount/giveaway. Always resort to official websites to confirm the news before you click on a link or fill in your information which may cost you your privacy or money.
Beware of such impersonations and keep away from scammers like that.
Scams You Should Be Aware of
- Emails from banks telling of some issue with your account. If there’s any such issue, a bank never sends an email personally.
- Emails from individuals seeking financial help amid some medical emergency; or citing account/ transactional concerns to extort money.
- Fraudulent offers and discounts on different products and services.
- Impersonations of genuine organizations such as CDC and WHO.
- Fake charity organizations are claiming to generate funding for medical facilities and care homes.
Keep These Points In Mind
- Emails as such would have poor grammar or mistakes in the email content. Also, their IDs will seem fake.
- Registered organizations do not have a general email ID. For example, a certified mail from CDC will never have an ID registred as firstname.lastname@example.org. It always ends with the organization’s name.
- Check out for logos of the organizations the emails claim to be from.
- No genuine organization asks for financial details or any personal details under any circumstances.
- Do not click on hyperlinks or download files attached to the email.
The entire world is in confusion over the COVID-19 spread and to be fooled by any such scam is the last thing we want. So, beware of these scams and lookout for signs before you click on any malicious link or attachment. And do not give away financial information at all.