City Hall Scoop

South Pasadena News and Updates from City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe

With people around the world staying and working from home, many users are vulnerable to simple attacks. People of all ages, not just the elderly, are being victimized by criminals. Scams include blackmail attempts, investment scams, and solicitation of non-existent treatment or equipment to treatment.  COVID-19 is being used in a variety of malicious campaigns including email spam, malware, and ransomware.  The mention of current events for malicious attacks is nothing new for scammers, who time and again use the timeliness of hot topics, occasions, and popular personalities in their social engineering strategies.

As many of us adapt to new methods of working remotely, be wary of cybercriminals using popular online tools, sharing software, and file attachments in their scams. Bad actors are exploiting people’s fears and uncertainty of the global crisis and using the disease as a hook. Emails claiming to be relief or health organizations asking for donations are being sent to and from various countries all over the globe. Many of the emails allege to be official organizations and contain updates and recommendations connected to the disease. Like most email spam attacks, they also include malicious attachments.

The Federal Trade Commission and the FBI have released warning on scams using coronavirus. Here are some tips to better protect yourself from fraud:

  • 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. .
  • Do your homework when it comes to donations. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.

4/21/2020

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