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Avoiding Scams, Phishing, Malware and Other Unpleasant Stuff

Avoiding Scams, Phishing, Malware and Other Unpleasant Stuff

March 30, 2020
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For the past few weeks, I've been bombarded with information about Coronavirus from local government agencies and from legitimate corporate sources with whom I do businesses.

Slowly, but surely, the SCAMMERS AND FRAUDSTERS followed suit.

Now is a good time for those criminals.  They know that people are feeling stress.  They know that people are distracted.  They know that people are more likely to click on a 'good' headline or email subject line.  Some of the scams that have been sent to me appear very convincing as these people are good at what they do.

Before you open any email, click on any links or social media posts or provide ANY information to an inbound phone caller, please stop yourself just for a moment and consider these tips:

  • Remain vigilant for scams related to COVID-19. You may receive fake phone calls or emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites, to try to trick you into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes.
  • Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19.
  • Do not reveal personal or sensitive information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information.
  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails from unofficial sources, and be wary of email attachments.
  • Avoid social engineering and phishing attacks.  If someone contacts you via inbound, tell them you'll call them back and when you do call them back -- use the toll free number from a billing statement or from the official website.  Remember, do not click on any links in these emails as they may have recreated the 'official' site and are using that to steal your information.
  • Use trusted sources, such as government websites ending in .GOV like coronavirus.gov (CDC).
  • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations. Review the Federal Trade Commission’s page on Charity Scams for more information.
  • Businesses and organizations should review information about risk management related to COVID-19.

This is not an all encompassing list.  Please be extra vigilant during this time to keep your information and your family safe.