It is no longer news that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the strain of coronavirus ravaging the world since December 2019, COVID-19 as a pandemic.
The world has seen a huge spike in cases with Italy and China recording the most cases and deaths worldwide.
However, another pandemic has risen within the timeline that the COVID-19 has become a problem; COVID-19 related online scammers.
As of Tuesday, the 25th of March, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reported 46 officially confirmed cases with two cases recovering and one death.
Globally, there have been some 423,724 confirmed cases and about 18,925 deaths making the disease a very deadly one.
But some malicious parties have taken advantage of the pandemic to scam unsuspecting members of the public and to rip them off needed money.
The scammers are taking advantage of internet users, stealing sensitive information and money from people according to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI).
The #FBI has seen a rise in fraud schemes related to #COVID19. Protect yourself by watching out for fake CDC emails, phishing emails, and counterfeit treatments or equipment. Learn more at https://t.co/rRZaW8DYI0 pic.twitter.com/OjfAzdeVj3
— FBI (@FBI) March 20, 2020
The bureau is putting internet users on the alert advising them to be watchful so as to curb the menace of online scammers in these trying times.
“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” the bureau advised.
The FBI also advisers people to be vigilant and suspicious of fake Centre for Disease Control (CDC) emails that claim to be from the CDC or any other organization that claims to have information about the COVID-19.
“Do not click links or open attachments you do not recognize. Fraudsters can use links in emails to deliver malware to your computer to steal personal information or to lock your computer and demand payment. Be wary of websites and apps claiming to track COVID-19 cases worldwide. Criminals are using malicious websites to infect and lock devices until payment is received”, the FBI further advised.
These are some of the steps that the FBI advises that all and sundry take to be safe from COVID-19 related scams:
- Do not open attachments or click links within emails from senders you don’t recognize.
- Do not provide your username, password, date of birth, social security number, financial data, or other personal information in response to an email or robocall.
- Always verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into your browser.
- Check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link (for example, an address that should end in a “.gov” ends in .com” instead).