Not only during this time do you have to mind the health of yourself and family, but also they “health” of your devices and accounts.
Will we ever catch a break?
Currently, world governments, corporations and people around the world remain focused on finding a way to make it through the spread of COVID-19. Between the lack of information surrounding the virus, and the lack of materials for healthcare workers, things are a bit of a mess right now.
Now, not only is the public worried about those previously stated concerns, we also have to be on the lookout for scams using COVID-19 as the ruse.
In this article, I will highlight a few of the most common scams currently circulating. Further, in this time of panic and uncertainty regarding the virus, the public may not be on the lookout for such scams.
Understandably of course, the main focus is to remain healthy, and stop the spread of the virus. But in the meantime, if you’re self-quarantined just as I am, let’s take some time and break down the scams that are circulating.
Netflix Scam Site
To begin, we will start with Netflix. This online streaming platform is one of the most used platforms for phishing and other types of scamming. To elaborate, scammers love to use Netflix as a front for offering free subscriptions, fake account suspensions and more.
In this case, scammers are sending out phishing ploys offering people free Netflix passes due to quarantining during COVID-19.
The messages come through various social media platforms as well as messaging apps like WhatsApp. The message includes a link to the site with the “free Netflix pass”. The victim is redirected to the fake Netflix site and from there, a range of things could happen.
The fake site could ask for access to contacts in order for you to receive the free pass or say they need access to other personal information to activate the “free pass”.
Continuing, the scamming doesn’t stop there. Those seeking work and other job opportunities are also at risk.
Fake Job Listings
Next up, due to the overwhelming amount of people working from home, or looking for work in general, cyber criminals have taken it up themselves to create fake job listings and charities online.
During this time, many may be out of work or looking for a way to help others affected by COVID-19. Further, many people may take the internet in search of supplementary work or charities and organizations to donate to.
Well, cyber criminals have found a way to use this to their advantage. Fake jobs are posted online for various organizations, and once the victim is “hired”, they begin fake and menial tasks that appear to be real work.
One example is that a fake charity used their new hires to complete basic tasks, and then ended up using them to help launder money. The scammers asked their “employees” to help send out “aid donations” to organizations.
Seems normal, right? Well, when the scammers started asking their employees to send it via bitcoin and other crypto currency, that is when the alarms began to raise and then the sites and the jobs would disappear.
Finally, leaving many in the dark and without answers as to what happened, or what they were actually a part of.
Fraudulent WHO Email Scams
Now, we have arrived at the final scam for this article, but not the last of COVID-19 scams entirely. Readers would need to set aside a solid week of reading time solely to partially cover all the malicious ploys currently circulating.
The last scam I am going to cover are the fake emails currently circulating. Scammers are sending out malicious emails, posing as the World Health Organization (WHO). The email is supposedly from the director of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, but is actually from cyber criminals.
The email contains, you guessed it, an attachment loaded with Hawkeye malware. This form of malware installs key loggers and other information stealing malware onto unsuspecting victims’ devices.
The key here is to be extra vigilant during these times. Cyber criminals are counting on a lack of knowledge and panic in order to access and steal personal information.
The Main Point
All in all, if you take anything away from this article, I hope it is that you need to be extra conscious online right now. Scammers are targeting the public from all directions. The attacks range from email, to job listings to online streaming platforms.
Double check for secure web pages, verify email addresses and exercise caution in general.
Here at CPG, we hope everyone is staying safe, healthy and six feet apart at all times!
By Taylor Ritchey