I have been warning you about coronavirus related scams since the first week in February. Today’s scam of the day focuses on scams related to to the legitimate and informative interactive coronavirus world wide tracking map created by Johns Hopkins University. A screenshot of the real Johns Hopkins interactive coronavirus tracker is shown below. Scammers however are sending emails to unsuspecting people in which they purport to contain a link that the email tells you will take you to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker, but while it will take you to what appears to be the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker, it actually is downloading malware that will result in the person downloading the malware’s identity being stolen and the website it takes you to is bogus.
Additionally, there has been a tremendous increase in phony websites promising information about and products to prevent or cure the coronavirus. These websites sometimes contain malware that gets downloaded on to your computer or phone when you visit the site or alternatively requires you to pay for worthless products.
Phishing emails are a leading cause of many scams and even major data breaches. It is relatively easy to craft a legitimate appearing email that can use a variety or pretenses to trick people into clicking on links or downloading attachments. Anytime you get an unsolicited email that asks for personal information, instructs you to click on a link or download an attachment you should be wary. Remember my motto, trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Never provide personal information, click on a link or download an attachment unless you have absolutely confirmed that the email is legitimate. If you are interested in seeing and using the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracking map you should only access it through either Johns Hopkins site https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html?mod=article_inline or the cite for ARCGIS Trust Center https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6?mod=article_inline
You should also make sure that your phone, computer and any other devices you may have are protected by security software and update your security software with the latest security patches as soon as they become available. It is important to remember, however, that the most up to date security software will always be at least thirty days behind the latest strains of malware so you cannot depend on your security software to be 100% effective.
There is a lot of misinformation on the Internet about the coronavirus so if you want information you can trust on this subject, you should make sure that you are going to a legitimate source such as the World Health Organization https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
In regard to other websites that offer information about the coronavirus, you should be careful about trusting the results of a search engine search because scammers are adept at manipulating the algorithms used by search engines in order to obtain a high placement in a search engine search. While it is not perfect, one way of finding out who is behind a website is by going to https://www.whois.com/whois/ where you can often find out who actually owns a particular website. Another very good way to confirm if a website is legitimate is to use the Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report where you can check out a domain name and find out whether the website is legitimate. Here is a link to Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report. https://transparencyreport.google.com/safe-browsing/search