According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, many Americans are being targeted via email, social media, texting, or even phone calls with fake messages relating to COVID-19.
Many of these messages may ask you to visit fraudulent websites, give personal information, or donate to fake charities and causes. Some even act as if they are the government trying to send you money or financial aid. To avoid becoming a victim of these scams, follow these guidelines from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA):
- Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments.
- Use trusted sources—such as legitimate government websites—for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19.
- Do not reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information.
- Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations. You can do this by searching online for the cause you care about—such as “homeless kids” or “blood donations”—plus phrases like “best charity” or “highly rated charity.” Once you find a specific charity you’re considering giving to, search its name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.” If you find red flags, it might be best to find another organization.
You can also view the CISA Insights on Risk Management for COVID-19 for more information.