Watch Out For Coronavirus COVID-19 Scammers

Kanguru Blog: March 2020

Coronavirus COVID-19 imageCoronavirus is spreading more than just a global health risk, scammers are coming out of their burrows to profit off of fear and the misfortune of others.

Cybersecurity experts and government officials are working hard to curb the new phase of criminals who are trying to exploit a frightened public looking for information and answers to their questions about the spread of the coronavirus.  Cybercriminals have begun impersonating the World Health Organization, the CDC, and other renowned health organizations to try to steal personal information and instigate fraudulent money-making schemes.

Cybercriminals will often take advantage of trending topics in the news, such as the coronavirus, to try and prey on consumers using fear and urgency tactics, states Gary McAlum, senior vice president and chief security officer for USAA.



Vigilance Is The Key Here. Watch Out For Fake Emails...

Be watchful and mindful of emails that claim to come from health organizations, but has links to nefarious sources.  One example is a copy-cat email appearing to be from John Hopkins CSSE on the Coronavirus COVID-19. The email shows a clickable graphic of a map displaying global cases of the spread of the virus. The graphic impersonates an actual map provided by Johns Hopkins, but clicking on this phony map loads a malicious program with malware, a Trojan that loads spyware which can steal your passwords, credit card information and other personal information from your computer.  

The best way to protect from these phishing scams is to not readily click on any links within an email until you have completely validated where the email came from, and where the link will go. If you cannot determine the source or the destination, visit the actual website of the organization and look for information there by typing in their URL directly. Typically large organizations will provide the same information on their website as they provide in an email with extra resources.


Watch Out For Miracle Cures

Other things to watch out for are emails for offers on items that will protect you from Coronavirus COVID-19, or sales claiming a “miracle cure” vaccine. Currently there is no vaccine, lotion, pill or drug that can prevent or cure Coronavirus.


Watch Out For Devious Calls For Donations

There are many great charities trying to help with the crisis, but criminals have also developed charity scams impersonating them and are trying to steal your donation.  Be constantly on your guard for scammers, and extra vigilant to protect your personal information. Test and carefully examine emails and phone calls that could almost certainly be phishing attempts for your personal information, and can rob you of your hard-earned money.  Do not click on links in the email or give out personal information from a phone call without testing for legitimacy.  If you want to donate, go to the website directly, or call them directly, determine the validity of the organization, and make your donations there.


If you receive a suspicious email and would like to report it to the FBI, you can do so here to file a complaint:

Important Links:

World Health Organization  (WHO)

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)