ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Digital scams are common during the holiday season, and with COVID-19, there are many new ones out there.
Mike Stamas is the Vice President and co-founder of GreyCastle Security. He said we usually see fake Amazon coupons, Kohl’s cash, or other holiday-related scams, but the pandemic has given criminals even more material.
“Criminals are smart and their goal is to get you to interact with their content whether its giving your bank or credit card information, whatever criminals can do to hit that nerve that forces you to do something they’ll do it, and it’s not beneath them to leverage something like a global pandemic,” Stamas said.
He said there are several COVID-19 scams out there—from text messages to emails, to calls like one he said he heard about Thursday morning. It offered the chance to avoid long lines and receive a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine early for $79.99.
“If it’s unsolicited, if it’s not something you asked for, we always talk about having a healthy paranoia. If it seems too good to be true it probably is.”
But what if you click a link in a text message or email or answer a spam call? Stamas said you don’t need to throw your phone in the trash but you should be aware of what could be happening.
“You interact with the link and they’ll know you click that in some cases theres malicious software running behind the link that could give a criminal access to your PC or your mobile device or whatever the case may be so you need to be cautious.”
He said if the message or call seems illegitimate and you’re unsure, reach out to a business you trust, such as your bank or health provider.
He said another common scam is asking you to donate to people suffering from COVID-19. He said if you want to donate, reach out to charities or the Red Cross directly to be safe.