COVID-19 Phishing Scams & How To Avoid Becoming A Victim

COVID-19 Phishing Scams & How To Avoid Becoming A Victim

Phishing has drastically increased during recent months. While the whole world was stuck inside wishing for the COVID-19 pandemic to be over, cybercriminals we’re making the most of it.

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According to WHO, cyber scammers and hackers are sending out fraudulent emails and WhatsApp messages, asking users to click on links and open attachments to steal the users’ personal information and money.

Bolster’s Q1 2020 ‘State of Phishing and Online Fraud Report‘ also states that there has been a massive spike in phishing scams.

Some findings from the report:

  • 854,441 confirmed phishing and pages out of which 30% are COVID-19 related
  • Number of scamming and phishing pages went live every day
    • January – More than 3,142
    • March – Over 8,342

Scammers are sending emails and making web pages and forms pretending to be government departments, WHO, other health organizations and service providers, and mask sellers, charities, and more.

To steer clear of such phishing scams, you must do the following:

Don’t click on any suspicious links

If you receive any suspicious links or attachments via email from an unknown sender or someone claiming to be a well-known company, don’t fall for it. Move the email to the trash. Pronto.

Regularly change your password

The best way to ward off most cyber attacks is to change your password regularly. Also, make sure the passwords of all your accounts are different and are hard to guess. Don’t use your name, date of birth, or ‘password’ as your password. Use something with 12 characters. It should be made up of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Don’t give out information

The biggest mistake a person can make is giving out personal or confidential information like their credit card, email address, or other details to an unreliable source on the internet.

Use firewalls

Make sure your firewalls are not deactivated. Leaving your shields down will make you vulnerable to infiltration. Firewalls stop hackers and outside sources from getting inside your computer and network.

Keep the browser updated

Making sure all updates are installed on your browser will protect against phishing attempts. Updates usually contain security patches that are released in response to the loopholes that hackers have discovered.

Install a strong antivirus

Your devices should have a strong and up to date antivirus to protect your system by blocking malicious files sent out by cyber attackers. An antivirus sees all the files entering the system, whether from the internet or USB. Consider it an added security measure along with your firewalls.

Be careful of websites

While visiting a website, always check its address bar. If it has a padlock on the top left corner before the URL, then you’re safe. However, if the connection isn’t secure or the certificate is not valid, then it’s better not to proceed. Abort mission now.

Also, be wary of pop-ups. Some pop-ups look like legitimate elements of the website, but in reality, they are phishing attempts. Check your browser settings to make sure all pop-ups are blocked and require permission to appear.

If you think your computer’s performance is hindered by a virus that you accidentally downloaded, contact Computer Sleuths. Click here to schedule a free checkup in Norcross, or anywhere in the Metro Atlanta area.