Scammers are taking advantage of the fear and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. Scams to beware of include:
Since the US government announced it would be sending direct payments of up to $1,200 to qualifying Americans, the fraudulent schemes are ramping up. This includes scammers reaching out to you through a variety of channels seeking personal information. Remember: Most people who qualify to receive a stimulus check do not need to sign up, apply, or "verify" any personal information, online or elsewhere. The US government will never call, email or text you asking for bank details, Social Security numbers or money.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), "Don’t respond to texts and emails about checks from the government. The details are still being worked out. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer."
Promotion of products that claim to prevent, treat or cure the coronavirus
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), "There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)—online or in stores."
Requests for money for fraudulent charities
If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card or by wiring money, don’t do it. See the FTC's How to donate wisely and avoid charity scams.
Beware of emails and social media postings that claim to be from experts. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The U.S. Secret Service is reporting a number of phishing scams related to the virus. People may receive a phishing email claiming to be from a medical/health organization that links to fraudulent sites where people are asked to enter their email, password, and other identity information. The attachments contain malware. Report any suspicious emails to the NU Cybersecurity office at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
COVID-19 tracking maps with malware
Attackers are circulating links to malicious websites disguised as COVID-19 maps, either on social media or through misleading emails. Opening one of these sites prompts the user to install an applet that infects their device with malware that steals data such as login credentials and banking information. Stick to verified COVID-19 tracking maps and double-check the URL of linked websites before clicking.
Protect your online accounts by enrolling in Duo's Two-Factor Authentication. Two-Factor protection is the best way to mitigate attacks on weak or stolen passwords. Enroll in Two-Factor at trueyou.nebraska.edu.