Coronavirus Scams are Another Sickness
Covid-19 is understandably scary on many levels. It is a new or “novel” virus that scientists have never seen before. It appears to have the ability to spread throughout populations pretty quickly. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has said coronavirus “is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.”
Scary stuff, to be sure. And accordingly, it is normal for you to want to learn as much as you can to protect yourself and your family from this outbreak. But there is another sickness lurking and that is exhibited by the criminals who are leveraging your curiosity and fear to infect your computer and potentially steal your identity.
Wishing, phishing and malware
We all wish there was a vaccine or cure. Others may be looking to get tested. The crooks know this and so they are preying on people wishing to find a cure or to get tested for coronavirus. I am sad to say that as of this moment, there is no cure or vaccine and that test kits are in short supply.
If you see anything on social media websites that claim to have a coronavirus cure or access to test kits, please ignore them. The same thing if you get any telemarketing calls making the same claims. Do not click on links found in social media and just hang up on telemarketers (or use caller ID to ignore the call). The common best practice is don’t provide any information to people you don’t know.
You may also get fraudulent emails about coronavirus, potentially appearing to be from either individuals or companies you know. Here is the most important thing to do. If these emails have a link to a website or have an unknown attachment, trash the email immediately. Or if they have a phone number, don’t call it.
Fraudulent emails that have links or attachments are known as “phishing” attacks. That’s because either the link or attachment can introduce malicious software called “malware” that can infect your computer and make all your personal information on it available to thieves.
Focus on facts
The best thing to do right now is to focus on the facts provided by either the government or known, respected health officials and organizations. Your personal doctor or medical group might also be a source of reliable and up-to-the-minute news regarding coronavirus and the Covid-19 pandemic.