Experts say beware of scammers using COVID-19 to hack you

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 NEWS)– An alert from The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says cyber hackers are using COVID-19 as the subject of phishing emails hoping to pry on people. As more people are working from home, e-learning or searching the web people need to be mindful.

“It could be an urgent thing, like one of your employees is sick we need you to donate money,” Utah’s Chief Information Officer Phil Bates said.

Related: FBI and Police warn of coronavirus scam, a trick to ransom your phone or computer

Utah’s Chief Information Officer Phil Bates gives state employees are seeing a small increase in hacking attempts as well.

“Not a huge increase but we are seeing an increase yes,” Bates said. ” Working from home, you are kind of not behind the state’s defenses and you are on a home network which makes you vulnerable as well.”

Have questions about coronavirus?

Bates says there have been no major cyber threats on a state level. 

Nationwide, according to the Federal Trade Commission, there have been nearly 8,000 fraud reports from consumers related to the virus since January 2020.

Cybersecurity expert Rob Jorgensen says people must implement safeguards.

“Set up a private meeting, not a public meeting, change your passwords,” Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen says during these times it’s easy for people to forget the basics. 

“Be conscious, maybe this is not real,” Jorgensen said.

“Attackers are taking advantage of that and sending out these fake emails to say hey we have got some cure for COVID-19, or here is how you get your money sign up now you’ll be first in line”. 

Officials are urging folks to be proactive.

Here are more tips to avoid scams from the FTC:

Latest stories:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.