Coronavirus Scammers on the Rise
Coronavirus scams are on the rise, 667% to be exact! Have you ever gotten an email that asked you for a donation? Have you ever gotten a text message asking you to click a link and provide just a “little information?” Be careful, because 99% of the time it is a scam.
Right now, people are scared. We are overwhelmed with information. This climate of panic and insecurity is a tremendous incentive for phishers and spammers. What can you do about it?
- Don’t click links unless you are expecting one.
- Those forwarded emails from friends not only often contain misinformation, but it could be a virus.
- Don’t open attachments unless you are expecting one.
- Be highly suspicious of emails with urgent calls to action.
- The government uses mail to contact you. The IRS will not call you asking for money.
- Don’t use links to update any personal information on any website. Go to the website directly.
- The SBA or the IRS will not call you about helping you get money.
- The health insurance marketplace will not call you about your health insurance.
- Get an antivirus for your computer and a reputable email service for your emails.
- If you are a business, there are numerous tools to protect your company from phishing emails long before they reach an inbox.
Read on to learn more.
If you’re frequently on the internet, we’re sure you’ve heard of the word “phishing.” Phishing simply means the fraudulent practice of sending emails (and now text messages) claiming to be a credible source to provoke you to reveal personal information, like your phone number, address, date of birth, credit card number, bank accounts, etc. Once they obtain that information, they can easily compromise accounts, steal passwords, and even install malware.
So, how would you know a phishing scam if you saw one?
We used to be able to tell if links were fake, because they were followed by odd numbers. Or, the emails or texts had frequent misspelled words and odd spacing in between words and letters.
We also looked at who the email was coming from. However, what if the sender is a very reputable source? With the global pandemic, sources like The World Health Organization (WHO) and even The White House are who we look to for accurate information. Scammers are getting pretty clever these days, so they’re using domain that have lower protection.
What do we mean? Scammers falsify domain names to send you these emails and texts. Look at who the email came from. For example, you might see something like “@who.int,” which IS the domain name for WHO. Before you do anything, know that this organization will NEVER ask for donations or your personal information. So, how are these scammers doing this?
Let’s talk about DMARC. DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance. It is an email authentication policy that monitors protection of the domain from fraudulent email. Here’s the kicker: some organizations have very low protection. This means that their domain names can be used to send you scams.
DMARC addresses how scams are delivered to you. If you have GMAIL, most of the time these emails are sent to your spam folder. Other email addresses may or may not do this. DMARC also helps senders and receivers work together to provide better security of emails to protect users and brands from abuse that can be very costly. If email addresses and domain names are not verified, they will not have a DMARC record. Those unprotected domains are being used to send false emails in attempt to steal your information.