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.
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.”
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:
- Don’t respond to texts, emails or calls about checks from the government. The details are still coming together.
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. There are no products proven to treat or prevent COVID-19 at this time.
- Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from low-priced health insurance to work-at-home schemes.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO. Use sites like coronavirus.gov and usa.gov/coronavirus to get the latest information. And don’t click on links from sources you don’t know.
- Do your homework when it comes to donations. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.
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