Identifying and stopping coronavirus-related scams

Stretching Your Dollar

INDIANAPOLIS —  The coronavirus pandemic is affecting millions of Americans, and not just in the physical sense. 

In America, it’s estimated there are 14,000 coronavirus-related cyber attacks per day! 

That means it can affect your computer, your tablets, phones and your money.  But there is some helpful advice so you don’t become a victim.   

 “We have bad actors in cyberspace, who are very good at what they do and are highly motivated,” said Brian Linder, threat prevention manager with Check Point Software.

COVID-19 brings out the best in people and the worst. 

Those bad actors are motivated to take your money. They often target those who have lost the most because of the pandemic.  Hackers see a golden opportunity to steal your passwords, compromise your bank accounts and credit cards, steal your identity and wreak other havoc.  They set up websites to look like ones you are likely familiar with–they’re almost identical. 

The people at Check Point Software say since January, the average number of cyber attacks has multiplied by six times the normal amount.  In almost all cases, there are website links in these emails and you can easily be tricked into clicking on these deceptive links. It’s called “phishing” and once they reel in your username and password, everything you have, they have.

Tip No. 1: Don’t click on links that are sent directly to you.  Instead, go directly to the official website you think the link is coming from and see if it’s real. 

Tip No. 2: Look into cyber software to protect you from scams.  Check Point has its own software,  but whatever you use, there are a few key things to remember.

“First and foremost, the number one misconception is that you only have to install protective software on your laptop and desktop, because these things can’t happen on a mobile device or a tablet like an iPad, but that’s false,” says Linder.

Consider installing the backstops on all your devices to give you complete protection and peace of mind.  Most people don’t know the extent of what some software does.  The best anti-phishing software does much more than you know. 

These tools will actually stop you from arriving at deceptive websites, even if you should happen to click the links.  Or if you happen to end up at one of the phony websites, they can stop you from entering your usernames and passwords. 

Most software out there costs money, but those programs can save you money by protecting you.  Weigh it before you buy it; the small cost of these tools can save you so much in headache and recovery costs.

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