Scams related to coronavirus are on the rise. Loan EMI deferment scam and fake UPI ID for donation to PM Cares fund are some of the examples. To help users spot online scams and avoid them, technology giant Google has shared tips.
As listed by Google, there are mainly five types of COVID-19 related scams. These include fake offers on goods and services, stealing personal data, impersonation of authorities, fraudulent medical offers and fake requests for charitable donations.
Scammers offer massive discounts on masks or subscriptions to online entertainment services from unknown third parties to dupe citizens, warns Google. They can also pretend to be government authorities offering COVID‑19 information and steal personal information, such as address, bank account details or even PIN number to “fix” your insurance policy or conduct fake contact tracing.
They can also lure customers by offering cures, test kits, hand sanitiser or face masks that never arrive. Fake requests for charitable donations is another way scamsters use to steal money from the users.
The information was shared by Google in a post on micro-blogging site Twitter. “As online scams related to COVID-19 continue to rise, it’s more important than ever to stay safer online Closed lock with key…Here are some tips to help you spot and avoid these scams” the tweet read.
The safety tips as shared by Google are :-
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 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).