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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) phishing scams

Look out for scammers trying to leverage coronavirus fears

March 18, 2020 — 

A number of phishing and online scams are seeking to capitalize on the public concern surrounding the Coronavirus-COVID-19. Scammers often take advantage of health scares and this pandemic has spawned dozens of such campaigns, scaring recipients into clicking on harmful links or attachments in emails, text messages and social media posts.

Examples of COVID-19 Scams

  • Fabricated notices from health organizations (e.g., the Federal Government, CDC, WHO or local health departments).
  • Phony websites containing maps and dashboards
  • Information about protecting yourself, your children or your community that contains malicious links or attachments
  • Charitable appeals, claiming to help victims of the virus, which are not legitimate
  • Misleading ads or spam about masks or other protective gear, or other helpful hints to combat the virus.

What Can You Do? 

Be vigilant for Coronavirus-COVID-19 scams during the coming weeks. If you suspect a message may be a phishing scam, please report it by forwarding the email message as an attachment to spam [at] umanitoba [dot] ca.

  1. Rely on established lines of communication from the university for your updates. Important announcements and information will be posted on the university’s Coronavirus webpage: http://umanitoba.ca/coronavirus.
  2. Be cautious about opening any Web links or attachments even if you know the sender, as they may be from a compromised account.
  3. Look for red flags in emails you receive. Red flags include abnormalities in the sender, topic, links, content, etc. Tips for spotting phishing scams—along with detailed instructions for reporting suspicious email messages—are available on our Email Securityweb page.
  4. Contact spam [at] umanitoba [dot] ca whenever you have any doubts or concerns about a message you have received. Our security team will investigate and follow up with any necessary warnings to you and the university community.

Vigilance is key. Reporting suspicious messages is the best way for us to combat the attacks.

Remember, information security starts with you!

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