Coronavirus fears are high.  As a good colleague of mine keeps reminding me people are ‘traumatised’ as they begin to realise the world will never ben the same again.

So, what better time for the “bad guys”, those unscrupulous scammers, hackers and spammers to scare people into turning over sensitive personal information or even worse, money!   Working from home puts people at greater risk from the “bad guys”.

We have already started a series of articles discussing keeping your personal data safe and by default protecting your company’s data and reputation.

The “bad guys” are now targeting people working “not from the office” offering potential treatments or test kits or claiming to be from HMRC. These scams are on the rise. Two weeks ago, I received a phishing mail throughout LinkedIn, luckily our firewall caught it and our end point device solutions cleaned it within 2 seconds.

No-one is safe from the “bad guys”, sadly, especially elderly people who are a prime target. Isolated and in need of communication with the outside world they are now becoming an increasingly easy target.

Here are some of the recent scams we have been told about by customers and our technology partners.

Trickbot and LinkedIn, we don’t need to revisit these as we covered these last week.

Don’t open any links

Scammers are tricky. They’ll send messages that appear to be from a legitimate company, such as your mobile phone company, bank or even the NHS. They will include a link asking you to verify your account information. The link then takes you to a site that may look real but is fake. The object is to collect your username, password and other personal information for future use. 

If you receive an unexpected message that includes a link, do not open it. If you happen to open it, do not enter any account details or personal information. 

Look at this fake PayPal site that is being used in phishing attempts.

Top 3 tips to prevent being scammed during the Coronavirus pandemic Altus Digital

The site looks real, if you click on it then it even redirects you to an official looking PayPal account.  Once you enter your username and password, they have everything they need. Scary stuff. 

Beware random text messages

Text messaging is another relatively cheap way to get your personal details.  Text messages offering COVID-19 test kits have already led to nearly £1m of fraud being recorded so far this year.

A further risk to clicking links on your mobile is confirming that your number is live. Armed with that information, they can then use it to take over your phone number and access your online accounts. 

Before replying STOP to an unsolicited message, take a few seconds to look up the number online to see if a recognized organisation or business uses it for text messages. 

If you verify that a number is valid, reply with STOP to remove yourself from their distribution list. 

Another option is to block the number yourself. Both iOS and Android have built-in tools to block messages and calls from specific numbers. 

Don’t do quizzes or accept strange requests on Facebook

Top 3 tips to prevent being scammed during the Coronavirus pandemic Altus Digital

The latest and simplest of “bad guy” scams are the Facebook quiz. Who hasn’t done it?  You have 15 minutes to spare, you open Facebook and have a scan through and then there is a quiz.

Information released this week from Facebook indicates that several scams are running. Certain questions in the quiz such as “tell us where you grew up” and the “what is your dogs name” may look innocent enough but are Phishing you for security information.

The “bad guys” can take over your Facebook account to begin scamming friends and friendly.

The fraudsters then message the hacked victims’ friends to ask them to receive payments through PayPal for various reasons. They then ask for their phone number so they can communicate through WhatsApp.

If you receive a suspicious message from a friend on Facebook, contact them via other means to check the message is genuine.

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