The Coronavirus has become the latest focus of phishing emails. This is a special update to our last article on spotting phishing emails, specifically around the pandemic. We want you to stay safe both physically and electronically.
Things to watch out for in your email:
Emails directly from the CDC, WHO, or a health agency that you have not subscribed to.
There are many hackers using the CDC or even John Hopkins to get you to click on a link or open an attachment. If you aren’t sure if it is coming from the CDC, go directly to their website to find out the information you need. Do not click links or open the attachments.
Health Advice Emails
Unless you subscribe to a specific health advice email, do not open health advice from an email. While they might tell you it’s good information for your health, it may be really bad malware for your machine. These emails are written to make you open them. Whether they use fear or ego, they are still phishing emails. Make you see the next tip…
Information on Stimulus checks or from the government
These are now dying down, but people who haven’t received checks are falling into this one. Don’t click on emails that say they have your stimulus check information. They don’t. Check with your tax preparer or seek information from official government sites.
The email address the message came from
While the From might say CDC, your bank, or from another account you have, make sure you check the email address before clicking that link. It should be coming from their domain name, not @gmail or a free, general email address. You can always go online and look for the company or business and check your account there. If you need to know something, most businesses have messages for you there. You can also call and verify.
Messages from your boss or employee
The latest trick is to send an email supposedly from a boss’s or employee’s personal email asking again that you click on something or open an attachment. If you don’t recognize it as the regular way they contact you, pick up the phone and call the person to verify before hitting that mouse-click.
Common phishing messages to be aware of:
- the email states they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts
- a claim that there’s a problem with your account or your payment information
- asking you to confirm personal information
- include an invoice from a supposed order
- ask you to make a payment via a link
- want to qualify you for a government refund or assistance
- offer free stuff
These are the main points.
Here are some additional tips on staying safe:
- *Always check the from email address (worth repeating)
- *Always go to the business’s site for information if you are at all suspicious
- *Let the company that is being impersonated know. Some companies will hunt down spammers, or at least let their customers know that there are bad emails going out.
- *Mark them as spam. It matters when it comes to filtering.
- *Report them to the government division that manages email crime here https://www.us-cert.gov/report-phishing
If you have questions or concerns about phishing emails, contact us! We’d love to help you ensure your technology and data are safe.