As the world battles with the COVID-19 pandemic and as it continues to sweep across the world, people have yet another thing to worry about – scammers. While people are going above and beyond to help others during the novel Coronavirus pandemic, Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the global health crisis. As with any global crisis, the Coronavirus pandemic has created a new crop of hackers. Phishing scams take many forms, including text messages, phone calls, emails, and more.
The most common scam is found out to target the mobile phone through text messages. Recently, many misleading texts have been reported that claim to provide information about health and safety-related to the pandemic. Here’s what to do and what not to do when you receive a spam text to your inbox.
Types of spam texts
1.Messages claiming to be from the CDC are Bogus
The FBI has clearly stated that no texts are sent from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to Coronavirus. Text messages with links from CDC could lead to malware.
2. Text asking for your personal information to release your stimulus check
The government has announced a $2 trillion relief fund for the people. Scammers are taking advantage of this opportunity to get banking information from the public. The government does not request any such information through text messages.
3. Texts requesting charitable contributions
Of course, many legit charitable trusts are requesting a donation from the public during this COVID-19 crisis. But all of them are not genuine. To know whether the charitable trust exists, search online.
4. Any offers for medical equipment or treatment
Text messages that claim to link you to testing and treatment for COVID-19 or equipment like gloves and masks should be ignored. As of now, there are no proven treatments for the Coronavirus pandemic.
5. Text Alerts about possible Coronavirus exposure
Currently, no alert system could send text notifications about potential Coronavirus exposure. Many of the malicious text messages claim to provide the details on the impact of Coronavirus and the number of active cases in your area. If you download such apps, they can listen to you through your microphone and comb through your messages. But, you can opt-in for the government’s text marketing system to get updated information about the Coronavirus at your place.
How to protect yourself from such scams?
1.Think before you click any illegitimate link
Scammers can send messages that appear to be from a legitimate source. Never click on any link that you receive from an unknown number. Even if you know the sender and if you feel that they wouldn’t send you any such message, contact them to confirm if it’s from them. And if you accidentally happen to open that link, do not provide any personal or banking information.
2. Verify the source
If you get any text that asks you to confirm your personal or financial information or saying that your account is hacked and requests you to send your banking details, it is fake. No bank or IRS will send such messages to any of its customers. If you’re in doubt, call your bank directly and verify the same.
3. Do not reply to the text message
Like opt-in for text messaging, most of the SMS marketing companies also provide an opt-out option to unsubscribe from the text messages. You can opt-out by replying with a specific keyword like “STOP” to the message. Scammers are using this same formula to trick you into replying to their message. Ergo, instead of quickly replying “STOP” to unsubscribe from receiving the messages from an unsolicited number, do your research to find if any organization is using text marketing to send such messages to you.
4. Report about a scam message
If you receive text messages in the name of a reputed company asking for more information from you, report the same to your carrier. They will block the number from sending you such messages in the future.
5. Block messages from spam numbers
Use your mobile phone’s inbuilt blocking tool to block messages and calls from unknown sources. There are different procedures for different mobile phone users.
6. Play defense
Install a good Cybersecurity app or software on your phone to ensure that you are protected from the recent Coronavirus scam messages and other threats.
7. File a complaint
Report about any suspicious messages you receive to the local or federal government through their online sites. It can help them track down the source and prevent such scams from taking place.
These tips should be taken into consideration as the Coronavirus scams will likely increase in the coming days. Treat your mobile phone with diligence to protect you from such scams.