Scam Alert: COVID-19 now internet fraudsters bait

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It is high time internet users became wary of visiting suspicious webpages both on Android and PC. Cybersecurity researchers have reported a massive surge in the rate of ‘malicious’ web activities related to COVID-19. Fraudsters and cyber thieves harp on the ongoing global health crisis with the attached panic to trick unsuspecting web users to yielding their identities or making payments to false accounts.

According to US-based cybersecurity firm, Palo Alto Networks, web domains pitching false COVID-19 cures, sales of face mask and cryptocurency have grown by 788% since January. Many of the sites contain Malware that steal precious identity which can be used to infiltrate victims vital details including business and finance info.

Forbes, a popular Magazine reported: “The malicious and dangerous domains came in myriad forms. Many sites hosting malware targeted Windows users, but a handful have been attacking Android users. One was Corona-virusapps[.]com and coronaviruscovid19-information[.]com, which were hosting data-stealing malware aimed at Google’s operating system.”

“Many scam sites tended to focus on supplies that’ve been in demand, such as allsurgicalfacemask[.]com and selectsanitizer[.]com. Then there were a handful of “illicit online pharmacies,” including covid19-remedy[.]com, rxcovid[.]com and anticovid19-pharmacy[.]com. Not only were they promising unproven remedies, they were also pushing all manner of other drugs like Viagra and other drugs unrelated to the coronavirus,” it added.

This should serve as warning for web users. Unverified websites should be approached with caution to preserve business and finance.

The Palo Alto Networks advised, “People should be highly skeptical of any emails or newly registered websites with COVID-19 themes, whether they claim to have information, a testing kit or a cure. Special care should be taken to examine domain names for legitimacy and security, such as ensuring it is the legitimate domain.”

Last week some internet scam relating to shipment of false face mask took place in Europe. The fraud was traced to the UK, Germany and Nigeria. Money were wired quickly through a complicated network of bank accounts to make tracking highly complex.

Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka writes with simplicity and insight. He aims to enrich the Nigerian small business landscape. Through Hustle24 he connects entrepreneurs with information about new policies, enterprise solutions and opportunities that will aid their 'hustle'. He has written extensively for CobraReview, a product review portal, and served as a lead project manager for MarketingMix where he consulted as PR consultant for MTN Project Fame and Business Next Titan etc.

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