As the COVID-19 virus spreads around the world, anxiety is high. Citizens everywhere are looking for ways to keep themselves and their families safe and healthy. Unfortunately, criminals are preying on this vulnerability through a wide range of crimes and scams which exploit the fear and uncertainty surrounding the virus.
There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself. Be on the alert for counterfeit medical products, fraud and cybercrime.
Counterfeit medical supplies and medicines
Criminals are taking advantage of the pandemic to make money. We are seeing an increase in fake or counterfeit medical items available on the market, including disposable surgical masks, hand sanitizers, antiviral and antimalarial medication, vaccines and COVID-19 test kits.
Take care when buying medicines, especially online.
There has been a marked increase in cybercrime incidents being tailored around aspects of the coronavirus to target organizations and unsuspecting victims. Malicious domains, malware and ransomware are among the different types of cyberattack being reported.
Fraud: online or telephone
Telephone fraud and phishing are on the rise, with criminals tailoring their techniques to the current situation.
Scams linked to the virus include:
- Telephone fraud – criminals call victims pretending to be clinic or hospital officials, who claim that a relative of the victim has fallen sick with the virus and request payments for medical treatment;
- Phishing – emails claiming to be from national or global health authorities, with the aim of tricking victims to provide personal credentials or payment details, or to open an attachment containing malware.
#StayHome and #StaySafe
If your government has asked you to #StayHome, please do so. Don’t put yourself or others at risk.
You can help law enforcement and other first responders by respecting government measures.