By NICHOLAS SAKELARIS | CoServ
COVID-19 has disrupted our lives, but there are hackers out there who who want to hurt us and exploit the chaos surrounding the virus outreak by sending malicious phishing emails.
CoServ Information Security Analyst Joel Scheller warns that people should be on the lookout for emails that appear to be from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and other official sources often quoted about the coronavirus.
The scammers craft emails that look like they came from these sources but actually contain malicious phishing links or dangerous attachments.
Another common scam that’s occurring right now is emails that claim to have “new” or “updated” information on coronavirus cases in your area. These emails try to scare you into clicking on a link or downloading an attachment that could compromise your computer and the larger network.
Also, Joel said to be vigilant for emails that ask for charity donations for researchers, studies, doctors or victims of the coronavirus. Scammers create fake charity emails after natural disasters or, in this case, virus outbreaks.
Here are some simple pointers to keep you safe online:
- Never click on links or download attachments from an email that you weren’t expecting.
- Hover over links to see the true URL address
- If you receive a suspicious email, report it to the organization it reportedly came from, such as the CDC or WHO.
- Go to trusted news sites for the latest updates on the coronavirus. Don’t click on links suspicious links in emails from senders you don’t recognize.
- If you want to make a charity donation, go to the charity’s website of your choice to submit a payment. Type the charity’s web address in your browser rather than clicking on a link in your email or other messages.
Report COVID-19 fraud by calling 202-252-7022 or by emailing USADC.COVID19@usdoj.gov
Here are some helpful links to prevent phishing attacks:
CoServ.com/COVID19: Updates and resources focused on North Texas
First Federal Trade Commission article
Second Federal Trade Commission article
U.S. Department of Justice Fraud page
The World Health Organization Cyber Security page
Center for Disease Control and Prevention coronavirus page
CoServ is an electric cooperative and natural gas utility serving North Texas. Incorporated as Denton County Electric Cooperative in 1937, CoServ Electric is one of the largest electric cooperatives in the country, serving more than 250,000 electric meters across Denton, Collin and four other North Texas counties. CoServ Gas was established in 1998 and serves more than 130,000 gas meters in Denton, Collin and Kaufman counties. CoServ’s mission is to deliver excellent service to our Members and Customers by providing safe and reliable energy solutions.