How To Prevent COVID‑19 Online Scams

COVID‑19 Online Scams

We want to keep you safe whenever you’re online. That’s why everything we make is protected with powerful built-in security technologies that help detect and block threats before they ever reach you.

Recently, there has been a significant rise in online scams related to COVID‑19. We’re providing these tips to help you spot and avoid these scams, so you can stay safer online.

Common types of COVID‑19 scams

Stealing your personal data

Scammers who ask for too much information, such as your address, bank account details or even PIN number to “fix” your insurance policy or conduct fake contact tracing.

Fake offers of goods and services

Massive discounts on masks or subscriptions to online entertainment services from unknown third parties.

Impersonation of authorities

Impersonation of government organizations like the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) offering COVID‑19 information.

Fraudulent medical offers

Offers of cures, test kits, hand sanitizer, or face masks that never arrive.

Fake requests for charitable donations

Donations to support COVID‑19 relief from non-profits, hospitals, or other organizations should be carefully checked.

Tips to avoid COVID‑19 scams

Know how scammers may reach you

Scammers are taking advantage of the increase in COVID‑19 communications by disguising their scams as legitimate messages about the virus. Alongside emails, scammers may also use SMS, automated calls and malicious websites to reach you.

Check trusted sources directly

Scammers often pose as well-known, trusted and authoritative sources. Directly visit sources like the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to get the latest factual information about COVID‑19.

Be cautious of requests for personal or financial information, pause and evaluate before sharing

If you receive an unsolicited request for information, take extra time to evaluate the message. Scammers will often ask you to share more information than necessary, such as login information, bank details, and addresses with them. They may also request payment via bank transfer or virtual currency.

Donate directly through non-profit organizations

Some scams take advantage of goodwill, requesting donations for COVID‑19 relief efforts or impersonating non-profit organizations. To be more confident your money will reach a non-profit organization, you can donate directly through their website ─ rather than clicking a link sent to you.

Double-check links and email addresses before clicking

Fake links often imitate established websites by adding extra words or letters. If it says something like “click here,” hover over the link or long-press the text to check the URL for mistakes ─ being careful not to click it. Misspelled words or random letters and numbers in the URL or email address may also indicate a scam.

Search to see if it’s been reported

If somebody has sent you a fraudulent message, it’s likely they’ve sent it to other people as well. Copy and paste the email address, phone number, or most suspicious portion of the message into a search engine to check if it’s been reported by others.

Add an extra layer of security to your account

For extra protection online, add two-factor authentication — also known as 2-step verification — to your accounts. This provides another layer of security by requiring two steps to gain access to your account: for example, something you know (your password) and something you physically have on hand (like your phone or a security key).

Report it

If you see something suspicious, report it to g.co/ReportPhishing or g.co/ReportMalware

Help others avoid COVID‑19 online scams.

Spread the word and help keep everyone safe online. Share these tips with family and friends and download a one-page summary below.

Download PDF

Source: Safety.Google

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