How to avoid COVID-19 Scams
April 25, 2020
Canadians are staying vigilant during this challenging period. We’re washing our hands, keeping our distance, coughing into tissues or elbows, and doing our part to keep the healthcare system from becoming overloaded. We’re listening to public health officials and provincial and federal leaders, scouring the news, and visiting Canada.ca/coronavirus for new information.
But not everyone has the public’s best interests at heart. Cyber threat actors are taking advantage of people’s heightened levels of concern and legitimate fear around COVID-19, trying to spread misinformation and scam people out of their money or private data.
The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) continues to leverage all aspects of its mandate, and continues to help ensure that Canada is protected against threats, and that the Government of Canada has access to information that can help inform decisions on Canada’s approach to COVID-19. Last week CSE helped identify and take down malicious websites spoofing Government of Canada websites (the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency) that were spreading COVID-19 misinformation.
Both CSE’s (@CSE_CST) Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (@Cybercentre_ca) and Get Cyber Safe (@GetCyberSafe) have been publishing helpful advice and guidance on how Canadians can protect themselves from phishing or smishing attempts:
- Cyber Hygiene for COVID-19
- Cyber threats to Canadian health organizations
- 7 signs of phishing
- What is phishing?
- Signs of a phishing campaign: How to keep yourself safe
- Phishing: an introduction
- Spotting and handling malicious emails
- Protect your organization from malware
There are cases of COVID-19 maps that infect devices with malware, phishing emails with malicious links and attachments, and spoofed COVID-19 websites. Fraudsters are also phoning individuals to tell them that they have tested positive for COVID-19 and need to provide their banking information. If you become aware of or have been the victim of fraud or cybercrime, including COVID-19 scams and cyber threats, contact your local police and report online to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Fraud Reporting System.
Examples of these COVID-19 phishing email subjects include, but are not limited to:
- Cancel shipment due to corona virus _ New shipping schedule details
- Corona is spinning out of control
- Feeling helpless against Corona?
- Military source exposes shocking TRUTH about Coronavirus
- Corona virus is here, are you ready? (Learn how to survive)
- Get your coronavirus supplies while they last
Canadians are encouraged to take some simple steps to protect themselves, not just during the COVID-19 isolation period, but at all times.
- Patch and update your software and devices
- Determine if you need or use all the apps on your device; if not, delete them
- Make sure passphrases or passwords are unique, and use a different password for each account
- Use multi-factor authentication to further secure your accounts
Protect yourself by staying informed. The Public Health Agency of Canada is leading Canada’s effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. Visit Canada.ca/coronavirus and follow the following social media accounts for useful, accurate information on the current health situation:
- Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer (@CPHO_Canada / @ACSP_Canada)
- Health Canada (@GovCanHealth / @GouvCanSante)
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (@CanadianPM / @PMcanadien)
- Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland (@DeputyPM_Canada / @VicePMduCanada)