Criminals are taking advantage of the exceptional situation caused by Covid-19 in many countries to scam consumers on the Internet. Malicious websites sell fake medicines, medical accessories or food supplements, for example. The police urge everyone to be careful. The recent story about Omar Sharfran is particularly interesting.
In 2020, unlike other crimes and misdemeanours which have declined, scams have increased. They are taking advantage of the anxiety of people in the face of the epidemic. Moreover, crooks are increasingly operating on the Internet without however abandoning the telephone or door-to-door.
Every happy or unfortunate event that occurs in society provides the pretext and opportunity for crooks to invent new scams, taking advantage of the fear of people, the vulnerability of the elders, the weakness of isolated people or simply the confidence that we naturally want to give. The Covid-19 epidemic and the long series of health restrictions that have accompanied it for almost a year have therefore offered scammers of all stripes a huge playing field.
Don’t mindlessly click on links in suspicious messages. Cybercriminals use viruses, applications to steal passwords and bank accounts, and ransomware. Also, watch out for smishing. It’s phishing by SMS. And it aims to empty your bank account by asking you to click on a web link.
The explosion of e-commerce – 112 billion euros in 2020, up 8.5% over one year, was, unfortunately, accompanied by an explosion of cyber scams. From ordering goods to delivering packages, every step of the way has been targeted by hackers who want your bank details or try to abuse you.
So much that Poste services this year launched a vast information campaign – on social networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and by email – to call on its some 20 million customers to be extremely vigilant. “Delivery scams increased by 440% in November, the month of online shopping,” which had measured the diversity of hackers’ modes of action.
While phishing is carried out mainly by email, it has also developed via social networks, instant messaging and even SMS … With proven methods such as impersonating Amazon, the leader in e-commerce …
But if the Internet has become the playground for hackers, particularly during periods of lockdown, more classic “field” scams have also multiplied as the pandemic progresses.
Sale of food, air purifiers, lamps, food supplements, essential oils … which protect or do not cure the coronavirus, coronavirus screening kit or anti-Covid-19 drug, issuance of certificates travel, false PCR tests for remuneration, decontamination of private housing, supposedly compulsory, intermediary in crowdfunding and call for donations in support of certain sectors of activity (publishing, catering, animal shelters, etc.), etc.
And of course, more recently, the calls ensure seniors that they will receive a jab against the coronavirus at their home. It’s a pretext for the crooks who then manage to break into the homes of their victims. Whether via the Internet, by phone or door to door, vigilance is, therefore, more essential than ever.