COVID-19 Based Cyber-Fraud On The Rise

According to CBC, the RCMP is saying fraudsters are beginning to take advantage of current COVID situation. People are starting to receive phone calls from fraudsters who are posing as the Public Health Agency of Canada in order to get credit card information by telling people they have COVID-19 and require a prescription. On the trend of these scams, there are also growing numbers of coronavirus-themed phishing emails and malicious attachments. In one case reported to the RCMP, criminals even tried to sell a fake list of all the infected people in a neighbourhood.

While people are collectively attempting to stay at home and isolate themselves, it looks like people are taking more and more steps to engage online in order to get information and participate socially. The trend of cyber-fraud using COVID-19 is, of course something I expected, but it really is another disheartening issue to read about as we hear about rates of spread and death tolls. I hope that people can stay vigilant against these malicious online presences attempting to take control of fear and anxiety. Please watch out for disinformation regarding this situation by using only trusted news sources and make sure you monitor your online presence.

One response to “COVID-19 Based Cyber-Fraud On The Rise”

  1. gabybs

    It is really disheartening to learn that, in these unstable times, some people are taking advantage of the anonymity that the Internet provides to engage in malicious conduct online. This kind of behaviour is unfortunately not limited to fraud. Some people have starting using Zoom (the new videoconferencing app) as a way to disrupt communications and cause mischief. See:

    As the New York Times article explains, trolls of the Internet are jumping into public Zoom calls and using the platform’s screen-sharing feature to project graphic content to unwitting conference participants, forcing hosts to shut down their events. As one Zoom user wrote: “Our video call was just attacked by someone who kept sharing pornography + switching between different user accounts so we could not block them”. These interruptions are being called “Zoombombs”.

    Although these intrusions can be easily prevented by changing the settings in Zoom (e.g. disabling screen sharing), they represent just one of the many ways in which people are using digital and online technologies to cause further disruption, confusion and mistrust in already uncertain times.

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