CASPER, Wyo. – Casper Police Department reiterates stance from U.S. Secret Service warning residents about scammers taking advantage of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
“Criminals are opportunists, and as seen before, any major news event becomes an opportunity for groups or individuals with malicious intent,” the US Secret Service said in a statement distributed by Casper PD. “Coronavirus is no different. In fact, Coronavirus is a much more potent option for enterprising criminals because it plays on one of the most human conditions … fear. Fear can cause ordinary, careful individuals to drop their guards and fall victim to social engineering scams, phishing scams, unreleased scams, auction scams, etc.
According to the Secret Service, several international sources from Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe report an increase in coronavirus scams and an increase in the number of incidents is expected in the United States. Short details of the associated Coronavirus scams found are below:
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- Phishing scams
- Social Engineering Scams
- Non-delivery fraud
The statements describe phishing scams as becoming ubiquitous through email communication and commerce.
“Cyber criminals exploit Coronavirus through the widespread distribution of mass emails that make up legitimate organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO),” the Secret Service warns.
In one particular case, the victims received an email claiming to be from the WHO with an attachment that allegedly contained relevant information about Coronavirus. This causes either unsuspecting victims to open the attachment, causing various types of malware to infect their system, or cause the victim to enter their email login information to access the information that results in harvested login information.
These incidents allow for additional cyber-activated financial crime cases such as Business Email Compromise (BEC), PII theft, ransomware, account transfers, etc. Another side effect of Coronavirus is increased teleworking, which adds dependency on email to add communications another multiplier for these email fraud schemes. Several of these incidents are expected and increased vigilance with regard to email communication is strongly encouraged.
“Another new fraud scheme utilizing Coronavirus is using social engineering tactics through legitimate social media sites seeking donations for charity related to the virus,” the statement continues. “Criminals exploit the charitable spirit of individuals and seek donations for false causes around the Coronavirus. Increased caution should be exercised when donating to causes associated with Coronavirus relief. “
Officials say a third fraud scheme surrounds fraud that is not provided.
Criminal actors are reportedly advertised for sale on demand medical equipment to be used to prevent / protect against Coronavirus, ie. medical masks, gloves, disinfectant, etc. The criminal enterprise will require advance payments or initial deposits, and then depart with the funds and never complete delivery of the ordered product. Increased caution and vigilance when purchasing these supplies should be exercised.