#Privacy: COVID-19 scams tackled by FraudWatch International

Global digital risk firm, FraudWatch International has said it will start to switch its focus towards online scammers who have been using confusion caused by the coronavirus pandemic to target innocent web users.

As the COVID-19 outbreak has developed, cyber criminals have been proving adept, as ever, to take advantage of the uncertainty and exploit computer users who may have their guard held lower than usual. In recent weeks, fraudsters have made attempts to trick potential victims into activating malicious links or to visit fake websites in order to submit private and personal data.

FraudWatch International is now encouraging the reporting of possible COVID-19 scams for assessment and possible take-down via the website: www.fraudwatchinternational.com/covid19/ or email: Covid19@fraudwatchinternational.com

FraudWatch International Founder and CEO, Mr. Trent Youl states:

“It is not acceptable for criminals to be exploiting consumers in our current global environment using COVID-19. We have the tools, knowledge and expertise to help protect the global community as a whole, and feel it is our social responsibility to do what we can to make a positive impact on the world in these uncertain times.”

Some examples of the types of scams FraudWatch has seen in recent weeks includes:

  • Phishing – Emails with apparent information about Coronavirus but containing malware links or attachments.
  • Phishing Websites – Thousands of new domains containing coronavirus or COVID-19 have been registered and used maliciously.
  • Fake News – Websites and emails containing false information regarding the pandemic, meant to frighten the public. In many cases the fraudsters are pretending to work for official organisations, such as the WHO, the CDC.
  • Malicious Mobile Apps – Several Malicious Mobile Apps uploaded to popular legitimate app stores disguised as coronavirus related, such as a map of where infected people are.
  • Fraudulent Products – Advertising fraudulent products claiming to help people cope with the situation, such as face masks. These cases often end up with the fraudsters disappearing after receiving the money.

Examples of some of these scams are available at: www.fraudwatchinternational.com/covid19/

FraudWatch International has been protecting clients around the world from this type of activity for over 17 years and has a dedicated 24×7 Security Operations Centre to detect online impersonation, fraud and abuse and to take-down this activity.

As part of this initiative, FraudWatch says it will:

  • Utilise its own resources to hunt down malicious activity using COVID-19 / coronavirus and have this activity taken down.
  • Publish details of the methods used by cyber criminals in these attacks on its website, and actively encourage other websites and news organizations to use the material to educate consumers and prevent them from getting scammed.
  • Provide a list of known fraudulent domains being used in these attacks and make this information available via real-time API access to be used on blocklists, so other cyber security companies and ISPs can stop consumers from reaching known malicious domains until they are taken down.

These initiatives around COVID-19 online scams align with the mission and values of FraudWatch International, which include making the Internet a safer place, and being socially responsible in the communities we operate in.


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