FBI: Beware of fake emails related to coronavirus

Posted at 2:01 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 20:39:30-04

As if we have to don't have enough to worry about with the coronavirus, here's one more thing to add to the list.

The FBI is seeing an increase in scammers trying to take advantage of the pandemic to steal from you.

Watch out for fake emails, particularly that appear to come from the World Health Organization or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

You could also get emails claiming to be from the government and looking to verify information about your stimulus check.

Rob Cheng, the CEO of antivirus company PC Matic, says we need to look at any emails about the coronavirus carefully.

"It's okay to open the emails, but then inside these fake emails there's one of two things: There's either a link in there or it's an attachment," said Cheng.

Both are ways hackers can target you, and it may not just be your home computer that's impacted.

"Because more people are working out of their homes now, if they're connected to their work networkm then the ransom can jump from your personal computer up to the network and get in and start encrypting where you work," said Cheng.

That has Cheng worried about what could happen to hospitals. He's seen them victimized by hackers before, most recently in Myrtle Beach.

"A string of hospitals in Alabama were also shutdown in late 2019 due to ransomware," said Cheng.

So, here's what you need to do to protect yourself:

  • Check the email address of the sender carefully. Even something like an "O" could be changed to a zero.
  • Change your passwords - especially if you're using the same one for personal and business accounts.
  • Make sure you have antivirus software installed.

There's always going to be someone trying to take advantage of you, but a few extra steps can keep you from becoming a victim.

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