During these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever for all campus members to remain vigilant and follow best practices for keeping all information secure. Cybercriminals are sending out new email attacks specifically designed to exploit fears and anxiety about the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Cybercriminal email attacks may feature the following:
- A lure to download something.
- A call for action from one university to another, typically asking you to review a document or web content about COVID-19.
- A highly sophisticated presentation of graphics and text pretending to be from local, federal, or international government. Be particularly on guard against email requesting upfront payment in order to receive the coronavirus-related government stipend.
- A claim to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It may contain online offers such as vaccinations, coronavirus tests, test locations, or medical supplies.
Tips to avoid scams
- Don’t respond to any email that urges you to act immediately — especially when inciting fear with alarming images or language.
- Don’t click any suspicious links, open any attachments, download anything, or reply. If you hover your mouse over a link and see a different link displayed at the bottom-left of your browser window, you are probably being scammed.
- Don’t pay money “upfront” in order to receive a promised stipend.
- Don’t provide your social security number, bank account numbers, or credit card information. The government will NEVER call you to ask for these and will NEVER ask you to pay anything upfront to receive a stipend.
- Be especially wary if a trusted email sender asks you for gift cards or money while claiming to be under COVID-19 quarantine. You can check the email sender’s real information by clicking the “To” down arrow and then carefully checking all details.
Report suspected scams immediately
- See Phishing Attempts at NC State for reporting instructions.
- See the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) website to report a scam; they will investigate the scam and work towards identifying and prosecuting the cybercriminal.