8 Scams That go Beyond Pandemics

As you might know, scammers often take advantage of people during times of trouble, such as in the current atmosphere of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the scams that you should be on the lookout for:

pandemicAccount Takeovers

This is a scam where the cybercriminals take credentials obtained from data breaches to take over accounts. They are also trying to reach out to kids to give up their account credentials, as they know most of them are out of school.

Phishing

There are a lot of phishing scams out there that are taking advantage of peoples’ fears about COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, the most prolific are coming out about the World Health Organization, WHO. Preying on fears is a common tactic that people use, and when people click on links in emails that look like they come from WHO, they can get access to your devices, collect private information, and even steal address books.

Vishing

This is a tactic that scammers use to get access to people’s back account information. The scammer informs people that there is something wrong with their bank account, and that they should call a number. When they do, it is a VoIP number, and the victim can unknowingly give up their personal information, including their banking information.

Smishing

A smishing attack is similar to a vishing account, except it uses SMS instead of emails or phone calls to lure in their victims. Most of these smishing attacks are focused on the coronavirus and have a sense of urgency to them.

Social Media Attacks

Social media attacks are looking pretty legit these days, and that’s why it’s easy to fall for them. Essentially, they look like a social media post from a real retailer who is giving something away.

Fake e-Commerce Sites

There are also a ton of new fake e-commerce sites popping up, most of them claiming to sell things like masks, gloves, and other COVID-19 related products.

Rogue Mobile Apps

Fake mobile apps are also on the rise, and when downloaded, these apps can install things like spyware, malware, and ransomware on the person’s device.

Work at Home Scams

Finally, we have work at home scams, which are becoming very popular due to so many people being out of work. Often, these scams make people lose more money than they could make.

Don’t be a Victim

Here are some tips that you can use to stop yourself from becoming a victim of these scams:

  • Don’t respond to any texts or calls from numbers you don’t know or that seem suspicious
  • Don’t share any financial or personal information via text, email, or on the phone.
  • Be careful if you are asked to share information or make an immediate payment.
  • Scammers might try to spoof numbers to trick people into answering. Remember, there are no government agencies that will ask you for money or personal info.
  • Don’t click on links that you get in text messages. If you get one from a friend, make sure it is legitimate before clicking on it.
  • Always check that a charity is real before making any type of donation.

These cybercriminals are poised to profit from this pandemic, and they are doing all they can to take advantage of people. So, it’s important that you use caution.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.

This is Why We Hoard Toilet Paper

Remember that whole lack of toilet paper thing? If you are like most of us, you have noticed the shortage of toilet paper in stores near you. But, is there really a shortage or are we just natural hoarders?

toilet paperBefore we get into this, it’s important to recognize, that if you ran out of toilet paper, then it must be acknowledged that you might be lacking a certain proactive mindset that is necessary to maintain a basic personal security posture.

Having plenty of food, water, toilet paper, sanitary napkins, even a generator, back up heat source, and essentially anything that you might need should the grid go down for any period of time, is what it means to be a “prepper” and be prepared.

Is there Really a Toilet Paper Shortage?

The first thing we want to look at is if there really is a shortage of toilet paper in the US. On average, each person uses about 100 rolls of toilet paper a year, or one every 3-4 days. When you use that stat and multiply it by the number of people in the country, as a whole, we need about 3 billion rolls per year.

With more than 150 different companies manufacturing toilet paper in the US, we are not at risk of running out, so why are people stockpiling it?

The Psychology Behind Toilet Paper Hoarding

A number of experts have been weighing in about why people are suddenly hoarding toilet paper. Here are some of the suggestions:

  • Other people are hoarding, so I will too – A lot of people are falling into that lemming mentality where they think “I will do whatever everyone else does.”
  • I see photos of empty store shelves – If you have been on social media recently, you probably have seen those photos of empty toilet paper shelves. This creates a sense of urgency that you, too, must fill up in case the supply is not replenished.
  • I am worried, so I want to do something – There is so much about this pandemic that is out of our control, and this can make people feel even more fearful and stressed. To fix this, we want to do something, and stocking up on toilet paper is something that can make us feel more secure.
  • Toilet paper is an easy thing to hoard – There is also the fact that toilet paper is a thing that is easy to hoard. First of all, it isn’t a perishable, so you can keep it for many years. Another reason for this is that it is fairly inexpensive. Plus, you probably don’t have a ton of it anyway, unless you have room to store it. There is also the fact that you can use toilet paper for a tissue or even a paper towel, but we generally aren’t comfortable using paper towels or tissues as toilet paper.

The message about coronavirus that is presented to us is one of cleanliness and hygiene. You are told to not touch your face, always wash your hands, and don’t get too close to other people. Another thing that is all about cleanliness and hygiene is toilet paper. So, when you think about it that way, it makes sense that people would want to have it in their homes.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.