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Beware of COVID-19 cyber scams and fraud

Scammers love to exploit fear, and there’s plenty of that around right now with the COVID-19 threat. The most recent round of fake emails play off pandemic fears and promote false information.

Federal agencies, including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Federal Trade Commission and the FBI, are encouraging individuals to remain vigilant for scams related to COVID-19.

  • Hang up on robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from bogus coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might instead lead to more robocalls.
  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments. See the CISA materials Using Caution with Email Attachments and Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Scams for more information.
  • Be wary of fraudulent websites and news sources. Fake cures, vaccines and testing kit emails have been in the news along with phony emails purporting to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These websites and apps may offer to help, but actually may lead to a fraudulent website or news source trying to steal information.
  • Use trusted sources of information. Use legitimate, government websites for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19.
  • Beware of communications promising checks. Offers of economic stimulus checks are another fraud going around with solicitations for your information for the promise of a check. Be skeptical about unsolicited email and telephone calls.
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information. Do not respond to email solicitations for personal information.
  • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations. Review the FTC’s page on Charity Scams for more information.
  • Be extra vigilant in managing risks. Review CISA Insights on Risk Management for COVID-19 for more information.

Visit CISA and FTC’s coronavirus websites for more precautions.

For a quick resource list that may be helpful for dealing with online scams and telework risks check out:

If you believe you are the victim of an Internet scam or cyber crime or if you want to report suspicious activity, visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at

This loss control information is advisory only. The authors assume no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.