Hackers are taking advantage of the outbreak with a new coronavirus email scam.

When anything newsworthy happens, you can guarantee that scammers will attempt to make a quick buck off of the public buzz. Sadly, the coronavirus is just the latest global event to be used as bait by these criminals.

While the number of cases continues to climb and the death toll rises, scammers are using fake emails that contain harmful links to snare their victims by playing off their concerns. These emails claim to have information on coronavirus updates, an interactive link where you can look up the numbers of cases near you and more. The links, however, redirect to web pages that steal your information instead of providing you with important updates.

Sadly, this coronavirus email scam is a classic tactic on the part of scammers. You could remove “coronavirus” and insert whatever the latest headline-grabbing issue is, and these messages would look very similar. In order to avoid the coronavirus email scam and the threat in general, you must develop good cybersecurity behaviors and habits.

  • Never click a link, open an attachment or download a file that you were not specifically expecting. Instead, contact the sender to verify its authenticity. If the sender is not someone you regularly interact with, ignore the email altogether. Even if it is someone known to you, still verify the link in case their email was hacked.
  • Do not share or forward emails or messages that claim to have the “latest” headline news. They are often alarmist to the point of being hoaxes or contain outdated details. In the case of the coronavirus email scam, they contain dangerous links.

It is important to stay up-to-date on major events. Coronavirus and the flu, for example, are two medical issues that are rampant and very problematic, even more so for certain demographics of people. In order to stay on top of the news, go directly to trusted sources—such as the CDC or World Health Organization—for updates and information.

Contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at 888.400.5530. For on-the-go assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App from ITRC.

This news is currently evolving and we will update as announcements are made available.  

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