March 31, 2020 | Coronavirus Resources

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has created an opportunity for cybercriminals to further prey on individuals. These cybercriminals are looking to take advantage of public’s need for information and the current work from home environment that has resulted from the pandemic.

Cybercriminals have used the coronavirus to create new scams as well as refashion old ones. Below are some of the common scams circulating:

  • CARES Act Scams
    • The CARES Act is the $2 trillion coronavirus response bill signed into law on March 27th. The law includes providing stimulus funds to many individual Americans. Already, the FBI is warning of scams. You may receive an email or telephone call asking for confirmation of your personal information to receive funds.
      • The government will not contact you for this purpose. Ignore these messages and calls. Always contact your bank directly before providing any account information.
      • If you are eligible for stimulus funds, you will receive a direct deposit (if you filed taxes electronically) or a physical check to your home address (if you filed taxes on paper).
  • Public Health Organization Scams
    • You may receive an email purporting to be from a public health organization (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO)) that appears legitimate. Often, the email will offer information about the coronavirus and will ask you to provide personal information or invite you to download a coronavirus map or “virus tracker.”
      • Ignore these messages. Do not provide personal information or download software from unsolicited emails.
      • Visit the websites of these organization directly to view up-to-date information about coronavirus.
  • Work From Home Scams
    • You may receive an email or telephone call from a cybercriminal posing as support personnel from or for your employer (VPN, IT, telephone, or video conferencing providers). The criminal may attempt to gain your trust by using personal information gathered about you online (contact information and job titles). The criminal may ask you to utilize an emailed hyperlink to confirm or access your account information.
      • Ignore these messages and calls. Do not click on links that you have not confirmed as legitimate.
  • Counterfeit Virus Treatment and Equipment Scams
    • You may receive an email or telephone call offering you products that allegedly prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure the coronavirus.
      • Ignore these messages and calls and do not purchase these types of products from an unsolicited email or call. If a treatment becomes publicly available, it would not be for sale via unsolicited emails or third-party websites. Further, many of these products may be harmful to your health.
  • Other Scams
    • False Charitable Contributions
    • False Crowdfunding Campaigns
    • False General Financial Relief
    • False Travel Refunds (hotels, airlines, etc.)

This list of scams is not exhaustive. Cybercriminals constantly create new schemes to steal your personal information or money. Always be cautious and follow these general guidelines to avoid becoming the victim of a cybercriminal:

  • Never supply personal or financial information such as account numbers, PIN numbers, passwords, social security number, or date of birth.
  • Never click on links or open attachments from sources that you are unfamiliar with or not expecting. When in doubt, first confirm with the sender.
  • Never provide information to a service provider or technician unless you initiated the request. If work-related, notify the appropriate personnel at your employer if you receive unsolicited contact.
  • Always keep your computers and mobile devices up-to-date on the latest security software, operating systems, and web browsers. It is advisable to enable automatic updates.
  • Always research a charity or funding campaign before donating and access the relevant website directly or contact the organization.
  • Always report attempted scams. Reporting can help others from becoming victims.

This information has been prepared by Legacy Private Trust Company for informational purposes. Any opinions expressed herein represent our current analysis and judgment and are subject to change. Actual results, performance, or events may differ based on changing circumstances. No statements contained herein should substitute for professional legal, tax, or other specialized advice.