Beware COVID-19 charity fraudsters, warns the FBI

Beware COVID-19 charity fraudsters, warns the FBI

Scammers have no qualms about exploiting the pandemic to steal from the unwary

Don’t just look out for yourself, warn vulnerable friends and family of scams too

From the as-if-you-didn’t-have-enough-to-worry-about-in-2020 department, the FBI has warned that scammers are attempting to defraud the public by exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scams can, of course, arrive via all manner of routes – face-to-face on the doorstep, via phone calls or text message, but it’s even easier for fraudsters to target a larger pool of victims by making their initial contact via email or social media.

And with so many people more reliant than ever on the internet for staying in touch with friends, family, and work colleagues, there’s danger that more people than ever before are being exposed to the risk of being scammed.

And what better lure might there be than by exploiting an individual’s anxiety about the Coronavirus? Or plucking on heartstrings through an emotional appeal to help others who might have had their lives turned upside down by the pandemic?

As early as April 2020, the UK’s National Computer Security Center (NCSC) revealed that in just a one month period they had taken down more than 2,000 online scams related to the Coronavirus pandemic.

That statistic included hundreds of fake online shops selling masks, hand sanitiser, and other fraudulent items. In addition, 555 malicious Coronavirus-related webpages had been found designed to distribute malware, and 200 phishing pages attempting to steal passwords, payment card details, and other personal information.

And, most common of all, over 800 online scams related to advance-fee fraud scams wh ..