NuData Security is warning U.S. consumers about some of the most common scams that have emerged in the wake of COVID-19. Many fraudsters are trying to get ahold of stimulus and unemployment checks from the federal government, while others are more traditional phishers who are trying to take advantage of the chaos to obtain personal information. As it stands, the Federal Trade Commission has already received more than 90,000 complaints about scams that are in some way related to COVID-19.
With that in mind, NuData is advising people to be on the lookout for suspicious requests for information. The company notes that the IRS will never charge a processing fee for a payment, nor will it ever reach out to someone to verify their information. The IRS simply uses social security numbers and bank data from previous tax returns, so any message that asks for that information is likely to be a scam, and should be treated with extreme caution.
The specific nature of the of the scam can vary depending on the target. Many of the uglier attacks target senior citizens, such as a Facebook scam that asks seniors to submit their SSN to determine whether or not they are eligible for a fictitious grant program. Other scams will use similar methods to scoop up student information.
More elaborate fraudsters will send fake checks that ask the recipient to pay a processing fee, or meet some other strange condition. The checks give the scam the appearance of legitimacy, but the true goal is to pick up sensitive information for the purposes of fraud.
The same is true for any links sent via email or SMS. The link itself could contain malware, or it could reroute the user to a website for a fake government agency that only exists to collect personal information. NuData stressed that people should be on the lookout for suspicious links, and should never share any kind of personal information – whether it be a driver’s license, a credit card, or a bank account – with someone who reaches out with a request.
NuData is a behavioral biometrics specialist, and has previously pitched the technology as a potential solution for online retailers that are looking to improve their user experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
July 13, 2020 – by Eric Weiss