As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, scammers and hackers are taking advantage of the fear and confusion surrounding the current circumstances by posing as reputable news sources, or offering information. These malicious actors are using the stress and the urgency of the current situation to misappropriate personal information, download malware, and attempt to scam money from consumers. These criminals are the online version of “looters” seeking to take advantage of a societal crisis.
Many businesses have instructed their employees to work from home wherever possible. Being "home alone", dealing with the stress of the overall situation, and receiving a higher number of texts, calls, and emails, puts individuals at a higher risk of accidentally falling victim to a scam.
Hovering the cursor over any links can help determine if it has been spoofed, but many malicious websites can look identical to the legitimate site. Consider whether an entity should be sending you a link in the first place, and if there is a way to simply navigate there through a search engine instead.
If you are unsure if a request is legitimate, verify before responding. Check previous invoices and communications for contact information, instead of trusting what was provided by the potential scammer.
A common approach for scammers is to pretend that something is urgent, and in a pandemic this is even more important to notice. Reputable institutions will not pressure you into making an immediate purchase or providing personal information instantly.