With the outbreak of the COVID-19 called the Coronavirus there has been a spike in online scammers across the globe, Nigeria not an exception. As at today, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) states that there are a total of 151 cases, 9 discharged and 2 deaths.
The U.S. The Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) warned the internet community that COVID-19 has sparked an increase in scammers. These scammers have leveraged on the deadly virus to dupe people of their money as well as personal information.
The past few weeks have seen organizations and SMEs going online as part of the social distancing recommended by health authorities.
The FBI also advise the internet community to keep these scammers at bay as the pandemic rages.
“Protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; purchasing products online; or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits”, the US law enforcement agency advises.
Internet users need to watch out for fake CDC emails
“Claiming to be from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other organisation claiming to offer information on the virus”, FBI says.
“Do not click links or open attachments you do not recognize. Fraudsters can use links in emails to deliver malware to your computer to steal personal information as well as to lock your computer and demand payment. Be wary of websites and apps claiming to track COVID-19 cases worldwide. Criminals are using malicious websites to infect and lock devices until payment is received”, the agency advises.
According to the law enforcement agency, the following tips would help protect internet users and curb criminal activity:
- Do not open attachments or links within emails from senders you don’t recognize
- Do not provide username, password, date of birth, social security number, or other personal information in response to a robocall.
- Always verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into your browser.
- Also, check misspellings or wrong domain within a link