Top Online Fraud Scams to Watch Out for During Coronavirus Crisis

The coronavirus pandemic introduces new opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit. These are the biggest threats security experts expect to see in the online fraud scam coronavirus pandemic

No good crisis is complete without people using it as an opportunity to take advantage of those affected, and there are some frightening scams we should look to avoid during the coronavirus pandemic. These threats are unique in some ways because, unlike other major economic downturns like the US housing crisis in the late 2000s, the COVID-19 outbreak has pushed far more people into depending on the internet.

Online fraud is obviously a constant threat but

it’ll be worse as we recover from the effects of the virus because of the large number of people who’ll simultaneously come out of this situation desperately looking to bolster their income. Unemployed people will seek jobs or loans. Employed people who endured pay cuts or fewer hours will be playing catch-up. Business owners will look for ways to improve their bottom lines. It affects virtually everyone, which means everyone is a potential target.

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Chief among these threats will be stimulus fraud, according to information security website DarkReading. There’s reason to believe online financial predators will rush to file tax returns in place of people who haven’t yet filed, attaching the returns to bank accounts the fraudster has access to. Social engineering is a threat as well. Criminals are expected to impersonate banks or other creditors over the phone, creating fake scenarios where the victim needs to move money from one bank account to another one, or install a program on their computers because of “an issue”.
Phishing scams are another potential point of risk, and they may come in a variety of forms. Since people are far less likely to physically visit a bank to open a line of credit, web sites with credit applications could become much more common. Criminals will advertise fake sites to trick users looking to recover from recent financial woes into giving up information. Those coronavirus tracking apps could also be targeted, as the promise of a service letting people know when someone who’s been in contact with a COVID-19 carrier is nearby will appeal to lots of people. They can easily be talked into giving up information and installing a malicious app.

How To Stay Safe From Cyber Threats During The Pandemic

The good news is we can avoid these threats without changing much from a security perspective right now. The primary thing is to stick to sources and places that have already established familiarities. Try not to suddenly pick up new behaviors online (at least not without being vigilant). People who wouldn’t normally apply for a credit card because of a random email or phone call should continue to avoid that course of action. If the idea of a person calling and advising moving money from one account to another would seem fishy in normal times, it’s still fishy now. Anyone signing up for new online services due to the time spent online should maintain a variety of good passwords and use two-step authentication when possible. Don’t let economic struggles impact good judgment. The stimulus scams specifically can easily be avoided by filing taxes ASAP. It’s worth doing anyway since that’s one of the barriers to eligibility for the financial relief payment in the first place, but in this case, procrastination could be a huge financial risk.

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