Stimulus Package Scams
Beware scams exploiting coronavirus fears
From malware-laden emails to fake donations, these are some of the most common cons you should watch out for amid the public health crisis.
We are currently experiencing an unprecedented global event. The outbreak of COVID-19 – now officially a pandemic – has caused apprehension globally, ultimately resulting in lockdowns, travel bans, panic buying, and financial market turmoil.
Scammers, too, have taken notice. Emergencies offer golden opportunities for con artists to launch fraudulent campaigns that feed off, and cash in on, the climate of concern. Against the backdrop of a disease that has so far caused more than 4,000 deaths and continues to spread, scammers have wasted no time in playing on people’s fears or evoking feelings of compassion.
Some cybercriminals clearly think that all their Christmases have come at once: an anxious population, vulnerable people at the highest risk, excessive demand for goods no longer in stock, and masses of disinformation sloshing around on social media – all this equates to a massive opportunity to prey on people and attempt to defraud them while they are at their most susceptible.
The scams can take various forms, and the ESET research team has shared a few examples of the despicable tactics seen in use recently.
As a major source of information on the outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) is among the most-impersonated authorities in the ongoing scam campaigns. In the example below, fraudsters pretend to offer important information about the virus in an attempt to get potential victims to click on malicious links. Typically, such links can install malware, steal personal information, or attempt to capture login and password credentials.
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