COVID-19 goes digital, beware of the latest viral scam.

When you receive a message, via regular mail or WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or any other means, concerning the Coronavirus/COVID-19, think twice before clicking links or attachments; these might contain malicious content or lead you to malicious sites. 

Taking advantage of people’s willingness to get different information concerning the evolution and spread of Coronavirus, e.g. extent of its spread, infection and protection methods, cybercriminals are targeting citizens in different countries with scamming emails.

If you received an email or multiple emails that as subject had info related to COVID-19:

  •  Check who the sender is:  Do you know this sender?; is this an expected email?; hover your mouse over the sender to see if the address is spoofed (imitation of email address or impersonation of a well known brand, public figure, organisation, government, etc…) ; or if it corresponds to the real one. 
  • Only click if you trust the sender and if it makes sense for this sender to send information about the Coronavirus. Otherwise do not interact with the sender (f.e. do not reply to the message).
    A general suggestion would be that of not clicking on the attachment anyway, and to go directly on the website to cross check if the news really exists and if the sender is a legitimate one.
  • If you do not trust the sender and find the e-mail suspicious: Report the email using the “Report” button in Outlook.

The most used themes for these kind of scams have been: 

  • Disease centers alerts
  • Information on the spread of coronavirus
  • Expert protection advice
  • Impacts to economy sectors or to other areas
  • Interesting facts and videos about the outbreak 
  • Misleading stories on number of victims, how governments are handling the situation and disinformation campaigns aiming to spread fear and discontent.