A distressing side effect of the coronavirus emergency is that scammers who prey on fear and confusion are leveraging off the crisis to try tricking us into giving up our hard-earned money, our passwords, or other sensitive financial information. Many of these attempts will be phishing attempts—cyber attacks that use disguised emails as weapons. The goal is to deceive you, the email recipient, into believing that the message is something you want or need made to look like a request from the government, a bank, or other seemingly legitimate source and is designed get you to click a link or download an attachment. The link will take you to a fake website where a hacker will steal your personal information or the attachment will install some sort of malware on your computer.
There are many ways to identify phishing emails and fake websites. McAffee, an American global computer security software company which is the world's largest dedicated technology security company, offers these tips on how to detect scams and protect yourself.
“Incorrect URL. Hackers use fake sites to steal your information. Watch to make sure the URL is actually the one you want to be going to— if you notice the URL is different, that’s a good indication that the site is fake and you should NOT enter your information.
Nosy Requests. Your bank won’t ask via email for your PINs or card information. Be suspicious of sites (or emails) requesting your Social Security number, identification number or other sensitive information.
Sender’s Email Address. You can also check who sent the email by looking at the send address. It may say it’s from North Bank, but the email may be something strange like [email protected]. The sender’s email should not be using a public Internet account like Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo!, etc.
Your Name. A legitimate email from your bank or business will address you by name rather than as “Valued Customer” (or something similar).
Typos. Misspellings or grammatical errors are another sure sign that the message or site is fake.
Fake Password. If you’re at a fake site and type in a phony password, a fake site is likely to accept it.
Low Resolution Images. A tip-off to a false site is poor image quality of the company’s logo or other graphics.
Additionally…Hit delete. How about just hitting the delete button whenever an email comes to you from an unfamiliar sender? After all, if any legitimate entity needs to contact you about something urgent or crucial, they would have your phone number, right? They know your name, too. Remember, “just say no” to opening unfamiliar or suspicious looking emails.”