On Wednesday, March 25, the White House and Senate leaders finalized an agreement on an estimated $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package to provide financial stability amid coronavirus pandemic. As more information has yet to be released regarding the delivery method for the economic stimulus checks, scammers have found an opportunity to use the payments as a means for phishing attacks.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center issued an alert warning surrounding the phishing attacks, telling people to be on the lookout for emails requesting verification for personal information in order to receive a check from the government.
“While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news cycle, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking your private information in order to send you money,” the FBI said.
In addition to phishing attacks, counterfeit products – such as N95 respirator masks and sanitizing products - have made an appearance. The FBI cautioned people to watch out for anyone selling counterfeit products.
“Be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19,” the FBI said. “Be alert to counterfeit products such as sanitizing products and Personal Protective Equipment, including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns, and gloves.”
More information on counterfeit treatments or equipment can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh.
The FBI informed people to protect themselves and do their research before opening unknown links or attachments as well as providing any personal information in response to an email or robot call. Always verify the web address of legitimate websites and check for misspellings or wrong domains, the FBI warned.
“Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both. Don’t let them,” the FBI stated. “Protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; purchasing products online; or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits.”