Don’t Be Fooled by Fraudulent Phone Calls During the Coronavirus Crisis

Protecting your organization during the current COVID-19 crisis requires more than simply adding some software to machines. You also need to keep staff informed to prevent security.

As if the COVID-19 problems aren’t enough, businesses and individuals in Florida are dealing with additional frustrations: scam emails and phone calls from individuals claiming to be from the Florida Department of Health. With the public’s emotions running high and people looking for information anywhere they can get it, cybercriminals have found the ideal audience for their messages of mayhem. According to the Collier County Sheriff’s office, they are now receiving reports of individuals that are sending texts, phishing emails and posting on social media in an attempt to defraud a population that is worried about their health and livelihood. With quarantine situations in full effect and concerns rising, your staff members are potential targets of these unscrupulous individuals.

There Are Currently No Home Tests or Testing Kits

One of the top schemes being reported relates to criminals purporting to be part of the Florida state health department, approaching homes dressed in white lab coats. Not only are these individuals not visiting in an official capacity, but the Daytona Beach police department also warns: “In reality, they’re attempting to rob the house once they get inside, sometimes by force.” Similarly, individuals are receiving SMS text messages that include links noting that the individual should “click the link” to learn more about the testing that is being done in their area or to update their status with some form of registry. “All DOH staff will have a badge displayed,” the Florida DOH said in a statement. “If someone is approached at their home by anyone claiming to work for the Florida Department of Health or dressed in protective medical gear, they are encouraged to ask for verification and contact their local sheriff’s office or nearest law enforcement agency.”

Beware Vendors Selling Fake Cures

Another scam to be on the lookout for is vendors that are selling fake cures for the coronavirus. Unfortunately, there is no known cure yet for this deadly disease. These messages offer a miracle cure or testing kits, but the links or attachments included in these email messages or SMS texts often contain malware or ransomware that will quickly infect your systems. If staff members are using personal devices to access your corporate infrastructure, these issues can go even deeper — allowing hackers to tunnel directly into your business systems.

Phishing for Information

Yet another way that cybercriminals are attempting to exploit the current coronavirus pandemic is by sending phishing emails that purport to be from the World Health Organization, an internal contact or a trusted vendor. Each of these emails could contain links or other harmful information, sometimes even attempting to convince staff members to wire large sums of money to help protect a colleague’s family member or quickly pay a vendor for services rendered. These are particularly troubling emails as they are directly targeting employees that may be working remotely — individuals that may already be distracted or confused about the current policies in place for wire transfers or other support protocols. Encourage staff to visit only trusted outlets to learn more about the coronavirus epidemic, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control.

As you’re working through the challenges associated with the COVID-19 crisis, it’s natural that you will need some additional support for your in-house IT team. Fortunately, the professionals at SemTech IT Solutions are ready and willing to step in and help support your team or provide outsourced Help Desk or cybersecurity intervention when needed. With millions of Americans working from home, the complexity of providing a secure and reliable infrastructure for your staff and customers may continue to rise. Contact the SemTech IT Solutions team at 407-329-5125 to schedule your complimentary initial consultation or learn more about our coronavirus support resources online.

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  • Nick Allo Nick AlloPublished on April 18,2020