As the world struggles with the growing pandemic, and more employees are working from home, scammers are capitalizing on the situation by launching a wave of phishing scams. According to security researchers, the number of phishing scams jumped by 667% from February to March of this year.
The Federal Trade Commission has recently issued a warning about these schemes.
On CNBC’s Technology Executive Panel, 36% of executives said the number of cyber threats increased as more employees work remotely.
Threat actors are creating a sense of urgency in their phishing emails by using phrases such as “reset password” or “business continuity,” said chief scientist Shashi Prakash.
Scammers are also directing their victims to fake websites that mimic teleconference platforms. If you’re in doubt of the legitimacy of an email, contact your manager or your Human Resources department.
Phishers have sent emails offering medical advice to help protect you against the coronavirus. In one example, threat actors pretended to have vital information in an email attachment from the US Department of Health. Another scheme sends people to a malicious website that claims to have information about coronavirus infections, but is really a hotbed designed to spread password-stealing malware.
Did you receive a donation request from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? Don’t let scammers take advantage of your generosity. It could be a fake website aiming to steal your personal information or money.
Before giving to charity, verify that the source is legitimate by reviewing information from the FTC’s page on donation schemes.
“Two ingredients of a good scam are fear and confusion, and we have both of those right now,” said Adam Garber, consumer watchdog at U.S. PIRG. “So, it’s a playground for people who want to take advantage of others.”
Here are some tell-tale signs of a phishing scam:
- Incorrect spelling and poor grammar. What cyber criminals lack in ethics, they certainly don’t make up for in spelling and grammar. A professional organization usually has editors to make sure that the content they’re putting out is error-free.
- Unusual attachments. If you get an e-mail that has an attachment you weren’t expecting, then be aware that it could be a phishing attempt.
- Suspicious links. If you think an e-mail looks suspicious, then don’t click on any links. Clicking on one could lead you to a malicious website
For more information on coronavirus related phishing scams, visit this blog.