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COVID-19: Rise in Fraud Schemes

 

Times of vulnerability like what we are seeing today with COVID-19 often lead to increases in cybersecurity risks.

Attackers often take advantage of the media attention around events like the current COVID-19 situation, so it’s a good idea to be extra vigilant in keeping your information safe.

Additionally, with announcements that the government may be sending stimulus checks to Americans to help provide financial relief, there is concern that fraudsters will attempt to use these checks as a way to further gain access to your information.

“There is likely to be an increase in phishing attempts, with efforts to use the coronavirus to motivate people to comply with requests for information or funds. For example, there may be emails falsely claiming to be from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or from fake charitable organizations. Fraudsters may also claim to be with the government and request a fee to receive a stimulus check, or to get your personal information in order to issue the check,” according to Jeff Kurek, Vice President – Information & Cybersecurity.

Below are some important things to keep in mind so you can protect yourself at all times, but are particularly important right now.

  • Do not click on links or open attachments included in unsolicited email.
  • Trust only information from legitimate, government websites for updates and information regarding COVID-19, in particular the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
  • Do not disclose personal or financial information via email or respond to solicitations for this information.
  • Verify the authenticity of charitable organizations prior to making donations.
  • The government will never call or email you to ask for your personal information. 
  • The government will not ask you for an upfront fee to receive a stimulus check. 
  • Be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19.