Since COVID-19 began spreading throughout the world, the economy as a whole has been upended in a way none of us have ever seen in our lifetimes. As is typical in times of crisis, scammers have not been far behind in attempting to profit off of people’s social and economic worry. Reports from around the internet, as well as our own observations, have found apps that masquerade as COVID-19 coverage maps, entities pretending to be known sources of maps showing the spread of the virus, and people pretending they can help you with tax problems or to get your stimulus money faster. Knowing how to protect yourself from getting scammed will keep you and your business nimble and able to meet challenges to come.
First and foremost, a fact: No app and no one who emails or calls you saying they can help you get your $1,200 stimulus check faster is legitimate. While your company or personal email provider’s spam filters will catch a lot of these fake emails, some can and will slip through the cracks. If you see an email claiming to help you get your stimulus money come through to your email do not respond and delete it immediately. On top of that, if the email comes into your company email address, be sure to report it to your IT department who can take additional steps to block the sender.
Keep an eye out for where you are going online. If you are looking for COVID-19-related information, the best way to do so is to go directly to the websites of well-known organizations such as the CDC, World Health Organization, and Johns Hopkins University who maintain a fantastic COVID-19 resource website (https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/). For any and all things IRS-related, always go directly to the IRS’s website (https://www.irs.gov/). If you do wish to search for your information, be sure to stick to results that are on the first page of your Google search. These results are typically the most reliable and safe sources of information. The quality of links degrades the farther back in the search results you go. On laptop and desktop computers you can always hover your mouse over a link before clicking on it to verify where it is sending you.
App Stores for your phone are also not immune from fraud. While not as prevalent as email scams and phishing are due to the active management of which apps are and aren’t allowed by Apple and Google, still be careful when you’re searching for apps and only download or purchase those you trust and that are from the original company behind a service. Both Apple and Google have had incidents of apps sneaking through their vetting process in the past.
If you take the precautions in this article, you will significantly reduce your potential risk of losses from phishing and other scams. Your data and your money will be safer, and it will be one less thing you have to worry about in a world that is already full of apprehension.
Finally, if you have a business be sure you are working with IT staff who care and can help you through troubling times. Having knowledgeable IT staff can make or break your ability to respond to incidents both major and minor. We at Sagin, LLC can help provide peace of mind knowing someone has your company’s back when it comes to technology.
SAGIN, LLC is a professional services firm which provides services in consulting, technology and talent management. If you would like to learn more about these solutions you can contact us at: +1.312.281.0290 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit us at www.saginllc.com