FBI Warns of Stimulus Check Scams



iStock-505252961The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) issued an alert warning of coronavirus-related phishing attacks, particularly surrounding economic stimulus checks. The news that the US government is likely to send upwards of $1,000 to most Americans has created a golden opportunity for scammers, especially since the delivery method for the cash is still uncertain.

“Look out for phishing emails asking you to verify your personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government,” the FBI says. “While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news cycle, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking your private information in order to send you money.”

The statement also cautions people to watch out for offers of counterfeit medical products, including fake vaccines and testing kits.

“Be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19,” the Bureau says. “Be alert to counterfeit products such as sanitizing products and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns, and gloves.”

Coronavirus-related fraud has skyrocketed, and we’ve covered many examples of it in the past few weeks. The FBI says to be wary of this trend when you seek information about the topic online.

“Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both,” the statement says. “Protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; purchasing products online; or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits.”

Users can avoid falling for these scams by sticking to some basic best practices, such as being wary of email links and attachments, and not providing personal or financial data in response to unsolicited emails or phone calls. However, being aware of current trends in phishing attacks can increase your chances of recognizing these scams, since you’ll be on high alert whenever you see a coronavirus-related email. New-school security awareness training can give your employees up-to-date knowledge of the threat landscape.

The FBI’s IC3 has the story: https://www.ic3.gov/media/2020/200320.aspx


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