#Privacy: FTC warns of scams capitalising on fears around Coronavirus

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning about ongoing scam campaigns exploiting the global health crisis Coronavirus.

The World Health Organisation just recently classified the Coronavirus as a global emergency. Unfortunately, threat actors are now taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus. 

“They’re setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information,” warned the FTC

“The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips, and fake information about cases in your neighborhood. They also may be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, or contain malicious email attachments.”

To avoid falling victim to such scams, the FTC recommends users to not click on links from sources they do not know, as it may download a virus onto their device. 

Additionally, users should look out for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or experts stating they have information about the virus. To read the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, users should visit the World Health Organisation website. 

“Be alert to “investment opportunities.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result,” the FTC added. 

Only recently, researchers at Mimecast have detected a new phishing campaign, whereby the phishing emails are titled “Singapore Specialist: Corona Virus Safety Measures,” and have a malicious document attached to it. 

“The sole intention of these threat actors is to play on the public’s genuine fear to increase the likelihood of users clicking on an attachment or link delivered in a malicious communication, to cause infection, or for monetary gain,” explained Francis Gaffney, director of threat intelligence at Mimecast.

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