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Be careful: how scammers profit from panic due to coronavirus

Criminals never miss a serious crisis. The Chinese coronavirus causing the disease known as COVID-19 is a great opportunity for them. Because it can usually encourage rational people to “weaken vigilance” and succumb to the tricks of fraudsters, reports Fox News.

Photo: Shutterstock

Here are the three most common methods of fraud in this area.

The Secret Service has alerted Americans to phishing, a widespread scam in which emails come from allegedly a reputable company. For example, from a large bank to force victims to transfer sensitive personal information (usernames, passwords, and credit card details).

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The Secret Service said cybercriminals are using the crisis in healthcare and are sending emails under the guise of medical companies or organizations.

In one case, victims received emails from a fake medical organization with attachments that allegedly contained important information about COVID-19.

"This leads either to unsuspecting victims opening the attachment, which results in malware infecting their computer, or to the victim entering their login credentials and being stolen," the Secret Service explained.

One such scam was discovered in February. In this case, the email with the subject of coronavirus stated that it was sent by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Hackers and cybercriminals quickly took advantage of the coronavirus outbreak. This happens whenever there is a public health crisis or disaster in which people are desperate to find more information and do their part to help victims, ”said Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate at Comparitech in February.

“Fake emails from WHO follow the standard phishing formula,” he added.

Another scheme disclosed by the Secret Service uses social networks to trick victims by asking for donations for fictitious charities.

The third type of fraud that you should pay attention to is “delivery fraud.” Scammers appear to be employees of a company selling drugs that can protect against coronavirus. Criminals will demand an advance payment for delivery and medicine, but in the end the buyer will not receive any goods.

This week, the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration jointly sent warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and mislabeled products. These sellers claimed their drugs treated or prevent coronavirus infection.

Among these products are tea, essential oils and colloidal silver.

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"Companies have no evidence to back their words as required by law," the FTC said in a statement. The Food Control Administration added that there are currently no approved vaccines, drugs or products to treat or prevent the Chinese coronavirus disease.

Here are seven warning emails: Vital Silver, Aromatherapy Ltd., N-ergetics, GuruNanda LLC, Vivify Holistic Clinic, Herbal Amy LLC and The Jim Bakker Show.

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