Online scams double since start of coronavirus pandemic

Local News

Charleston, S.C. (WCBD) – Since the coronavirus pandemic began cybersecurity specialists say scams related to COVID-19 have doubled since March and are not slowing down.

John LaCour, Chief Technology Officer for PhishLabs, says the majority of scams come through email, but can also be tracked through text messages, fake social media post, automated telephone calls, and call centers.

“Cybercriminals always follow the news cycle and certainly the global pandemic is big news so they’ve really latched on to that for part of their scams and their lures,” LaCour stated.

Scammers are likely to spoof an organization that you know and trust like a government agency or bank.

“They’re using things like fake government loans, updates from your bank, your lenders, and your landlord, anything that might be going on in your life right now they’re using that to try and trick you,” mentioned LaCour.

Red flags you should be on the lookout for include the sender trying to create a sense of urgency. If you did not initiate communication with the organization it is advised you report the message.

“Look at the sender’s email address and reply email address very carefully. A lot of times it may have the legitimate organization or person’s name listed as the sender but the email address will be different,” LaCour commented.

Experts say if you receive a suspicious email to take your time to ensure it is not a scam and never click on an unknown link.

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