As COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, continues to spread across North America, scammers continue to cash in. Don’t fall victim to these three scams.
Phony SBA Grants – Small business owners are getting hit with a lot of information and making tough decisions on how to survive the COVID-19 crisis. Emails are coming in from every direction about local, state, and federal government relief loans. They’re also sifting through advice on how to keep employees, maintaining a safe work environment and tips on how to stay cybersecure online. With all of these messages flooding their inbox, social media, and phone, it’s easy to mistake a scam for a real offer.
This scam starts with an email, text or caller ID that appears to be from the U.S. Small Business Administration or an attorney representing the SBA. The “SBA” is offering grants just for small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The application looks simple and may involve completing a short form requesting banking and business information. After being approved, the business owner is asked to pay a “processing fee” up to a couple thousand dollars. This is just one example of the type of scam going around.
Zoom Bombing – Many businesses, organizations, and schools are adapting to utilizing temporary telework arrangements, but BBB warns video conference app users of recent ‘Zoom-Bombing’ where hijackers infiltrate the Zoom session.
Video hijacking attempts occur when conferences are hosted on public channels shared over the internet via URLs, making them accessible to anyone. Hijackers can sometimes guess the correct URL or meeting ID for a public Zoom session, giving them access to the feed.
For users organizing public group meetings, BBB strongly encourages hosts to review their settings and confirm that only they can share their screen. This will prevent any outside disruption from the main video feed on a public session.
Mandatory COVID-19 Test Texts – You get a text message that looks like it’s coming from the US federal government. Current reports say that scammers are impersonating the US Department of Health and Human Services, but they are unlikely to stop there. The message
tells you that you must take a “mandatory online COVID-19 test” and has a link to a website. But there is no online test for coronavirus!
These are far from the only coronavirus text message scams (often known as “smishing” for SMS phishing). BBB has also gotten reports of texts urging recipients to complete “the census” or fill out an online application in order to receive their stimulus check.
No matter what the message says, don’t click! These texts are phishing for personal information. They also can download malware to your device, which opens you up to risk for identity theft.