How to spot and avoid Coronavirus scams
What can you do to protect yourself against scams and misinformation? We’ve got detailed advice on how to spot a malicious email, but broadly the things to watch out in emails and other messages are:
- Unsolicited emails and texts: be careful of anything you weren’t expecting that claims to be from an organisation such as a bank, phone company, internet provider, schools, Microsoft, the NEWS channels and from the trusted organisations. And at the moment, particularly watch out for unsolicited emails claiming to come from health bodies such as the AIIMS, WHO, Fortis and any known medical care agencies.
- An urgent tone: phishing and smishing messages are designed to scare you into clicking on their links.
- Grammar and spelling: the phishing email claiming to come from the WHO is clumsily written and has typos such no spaces after commas.
- No name: legitimate emails from services you have accounts with will always address you by name. Phishing emails and smishing texts usually start with ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Customer’.
- Fake domains: scammers often set up website addresses that look legitimate in order to trick you. Security researchers says that more than 1,400 domains linked to the Covid-19 disease caused by the coronavirus have been registered in the past three months. While many of those may well be legitimate, others will almost certainly be used to trick anxious consumers into thinking they’re genuine.
Make sure your computers, mobile phones and tablets are up to date, and for Windows, Macs and Android devices, you should install antivirus software and keep that up to date, too. Antivirus will protect you from threats such as the banking Trojan contained in the any emails, and can also warn you if you’re visiting a website that’s been reported for phishing or that contains malware. Ignore such message if you are not sure about it.