One of the dangers brought on by COVID-19 that hasn’t gotten as much attention is the onslaught of online scams. In one week recently, Google identified over 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to coronavirus scams.
Of particular concern with so many people working remotely from home are phishing scams, which use a combination of phone calls, emails, bogus websites and text messages to obtain credentials and allow cybercriminals to take control of your computer, log your keystrokes, or access sensitive personal information and financial data.
To protect yourself from phishing scams, it is essential to delete emails that request personal information such as Social Security numbers or passwords, or insist that you act immediately. Legitimate organizations will never request sensitive information via email or use intimidation tactics to prompt you to act.
Generic greetings or spelling and grammatical errors are also a tip-off to phishing emails. And above all, never click on an email link unless you are absolutely sure it is legitimate. You can inspect a link by hovering your mouse over the URL without clicking, to see where it leads. While it can sometimes be obvious that a web address is not authentic, phishers are good at creating links that closely resemble legitimate addresses.
Bottom line: Security is important, particularly in these uncertain times. As a result, it is essential to educate yourself so that you are protected from becoming the next phishing victim.
The writer is the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer at Point Breeze Credit Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.