COVID-19 Becomes Breeding Ground for Misinformation, Scams and Fake Cures

By : |March 20, 2020 0

Last week, Tenable reported on the rise in malware and phishing attacks using the COVID-19 virus. Now, it has come to light that the global crisis has become a breeding ground for misinformation, scams and fake cures relevant to India. Satnam Narang, Principal Research Engineer, Tenable has conducted some research into the rise of these scams and what the public can do to ensure they don’t fall victim.

His research looks into:

The different types of scams he’s witnessed, including:

Scammers on Cash App

The spread of misinformation around COVID-19 which is becoming a growing problem

Scammers offering fake COVID-19 test kits

Fake messages from Government agencies, including scam texts alleged to be from the Australian government, offering advice on symptoms and when to get tested

Unsolicited phone call scams

Fake offers of emergency money for essentials

Working from home/job opportunity scams

Fake cures and misinformation circulating on platforms such as WhatsApp

How the public can avoid falling prey to these scams.

Commenting on this Satnam Narang, Principal Research Engineer at Tenable said, “With mounting fear and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, people will look for home remediesor take any information circulating on the internet as gospel. Scammers and peddlers of misinformation are seizing on this fear and uncertainty, as COVID-19 enables them to dupe unsuspecting individuals.

“In India and Australia amongst other countries, we’ve seen dissemination of misinformation, offers of fake COVID-19 test kits, fraudulent messages from government agencies along with non-scientific cures.

“To avoid falling prey to these scams, seek information from trusted sources, be sceptical of phone calls and text messages around COVID-19 and recognize that work-from-home job opportunities and free money offered on social media are most likely scams. If you feel unwell, consult your medical professional to get care, avoid forwarding messages on WhatsApp or other social media about so-called cures or news related to COVID-19.”

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