Coronavirus: Digital Dos and Don'ts
Here’s a fact that you may not be aware of: criminals don’t take vacations, even in the middle of a worldwide pandemics.
In fact, on Monday, the FBI released an article discussing an anticipated rise in business email compromise schemes related to the COVID-19 situation, highlighting one of many ways criminals try to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals digitally.
Now, more than ever, it pays to be vigilant in the fight against scams and cyber-fraud. We’ve compiled some tips that are sure to aid in keeping you safe as your online activity increases.
Don’t Believe Everything – With more people at home than ever before, we’ve experienced an increase in time spent on various social media platforms.
Scammers recognize this trend and view this as an excellent opportunity to spread misinformation surrounding Coronavirus relief efforts, such as information relating to the delivery of stimulus checks, for example.
Simply put, you should always fact-check information you find on the internet, especially before you share it on social media. Consult trusted websites and social media accounts from government agencies such as the CDC, FBI, and the Louisiana Department of Health. The Federal Government has even set up a useful page – www.usa.gov/coronavirus – that explains everything they’re doing to help during this time.
Don’t Respond to Robocalls – We’ve all gotten them before. The dreaded robocall about your car’s extended warranty that seems to come at least three times a week.
Most of the time, we just hang up.
But what about calls regarding Coronavirus treatments or getting your stimulus check?
The Coronavirus situation is no exception to robocall scams. If you get a call from an unrecognized number, especially one claiming to be a government agency, hang up. This is likely a phishing attempt.
Phishing is a type of cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone, or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking, and credit card details, and passwords.
Do Your Homework on Charities – While situations like the Coronavirus pandemic tend to bring out our more charitable sides, it is essential to remember scammers aren’t above pulling on our heartstrings to get what they want.
Always research organizations and causes you are donating to, whether it be a local charity or through a crowdfunding website like GoFundMe. Don’t let anyone pressure you into making a donation, especially one via gift card or by wiring money.
Do Discuss Internet Safety – Don’t assume that your kids know all the ins and outs of remaining safe on the world wide web!
On March 23 the FBI published an article discussing a potential increased risk of child exploitation on the internet. With schools across the nation closed and some classrooms moving to virtual learning, kids are spending more time online than ever before. As such, parents and guardians should take extra precautions.
Discuss internet safety with your children, approve games and apps before they are downloaded, restrict privacy settings on all devices, and monitor your children’s use of the internet.
By following these dos and don’ts, you are doing your part to keep you and the ones you love protected and are helping to end cybercrime.
For additional Coronavirus resources, please visit the CDC’s Coronavirus resource center.