Our global team spends a lottt of time online and our IT team keeps us (and our users) safe. We’re sharing this message they sent out this morning with you because the last thing anyone needs right now, is to fall victim to an internet scam or cyber infection….

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which to some might sound like a good idea), you’ve certainly heard about the global fear and impact created by this ball of pretty flowering bouquets, COVID-19.

In case you were wondering, COVID-19 gets its name from “COronaVIrus Disease” which was discovered in December “2019” in Wuhan, China.  But enough fun facts…

Where there are people, there will always be cyber scams. Where there are fearful people, cyber scams will be even more frequent and more effective due to the emotions involved.

“Where we have strong emotions, we’re liable to fool ourselves.”   – Carl Sagan 

In general, all people (even levelheaded IT guys) are more likely to make bad decisions when guided by emotion.

Beyond the $5 rolls of toilet paper, $25 hand sanitizer and Tito’s Vodka as a disinfectant there are already online scams circulating. These scams provide bad advice or worse, cyber infections. They will arrive by email, text, chat, phone, fax, smoke signal, gossip, social media – literally any way people can reach you.

These scams might:

  • Offer special access to registry sites for infected individuals or disease information
  • Offer a spot on the first alert list for COVID-19 in your area
  • Offer help getting the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Be a COVID-19 related “charity”
  • Offer insider deals on rare COVID-19 test kits
  • Be a mobile app that can detect the presence of the virus around or even inside of you

Some other tips from the FTC are available here.

There are so many aspects of this situation that a scammer can use to turn real fear, into real victims.  The 20 second hand wash, 6 foot personal space, vampire cough and other rules that your mother told you growing up, are important.  These will help you A LOT more than anything your newly sanitized device can offer you.

To avoid these scams:

  • Slow down online and do not act on emotion
  • Use the 20 second/minute click rule if you’re not sure about something you find online
  • Never provide personal or credit card info related to communications around COVID-19
  • Never rely on the links provided in emails, texts etc. Check and double check the source directly instead
  • Protect yourself and others.. definitely listen to your mother…and for goodness sake, use vodka properly!

If there was ever a time to shuffle your feet and go slow online, it’s now!  Scams related to COVID-19 are already out there in full force!  Be safe!