Watch Out For COVID-19 Cyber Scams
By Sean Price

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Internet scammers are trying to cash in on the widespread anxiety over COVID-19, and awareness is the best defense, according to the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

Likewise, the Texas Attorney General's Office has issued a warning about outbreak-related scams. 

Scammers frequently send emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites, CISA says. These trick unwary people into revealing sensitive information or donating to phony causes. 

"Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19," the agency said in a statement. 

CISA advises people to:

  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails;
  • Be wary of email attachments and social engineering or phishing scams;
  • Use trusted sources – such as government websites – for fact-based information about COVID-19;
  • Avoid revealing personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to emails asking for that information; and
  • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations. Review the Federal Trade Commission’s page on charity scams for more information. 

The Texas attorney general's office website details the different types of internet scams and ways to spot scammers.  

COVID-19 cyber scams frequently mimic the work of reputable websites offering valid medical information. For instance, scammers have created fraudulent versions of the reputable Johns Hopkins University map of global COVID-19 cases. (A safe link to it can be found here). People who click on these phony maps have their phones or computers infected with spyware or other types of malware.

Physicians and practice managers are encouraged to review CISA's Risk Management for COVID-19

You can also find the latest news, resources, and government guidance on the coronavirus outbreak by visiting TMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center regularly.

Last Updated On

March 20, 2020

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Sean Price

Reporter

(512) 370-1392

Sean Price is a reporter for Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. He grew up in Fort Worth and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He's worked as an award-winning writer and editor for a variety of national magazine, book, and website publishers in New York and Washington. He's also helped produce Texas-based marketing campaigns designed to promote public health. Sean lives in Austin and enjoys hiking, photography, and spending time with his wife and two sons.

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