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Challenging times require increased safety awareness

Information Technology Services offers 10 tips for avoiding COVID-19 scams.

By Diane Watkins

April 9, 2020

Overhead image of man using a laptop computer, words Technically Speaking

The uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic leaves many of us more vulnerable to potentially being victimized. In fact, scammers are busy creating fraudulent schemes related to COVID-19 designed to steal sensitive information, money or both.

Here are 10 tips for protecting yourself:

  1. Scrutinize all emails before downloading attached files or clicking links. Verify that the email address of the sender is legitimate and someone you know. See Using Caution With Email Attachments and Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Scams for helpful information. 
  2. Hover over a website link in an email or online with your mouse cursor to reveal the actual web address before clicking on it. There are numerous bogus websites claiming to have COVID-19 information, so carefully check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link (for example, an address that should end in “.gov” ends in “.com” instead).
  3. Do not reveal personal or financial information in an email, and don’t respond to email solicitations for this information no matter how “urgent” the request may seem.
  4. Avoid using your smartphone to open unsolicited or odd email messages. Smartphones’ small screens omit important information such as the sender’s full email address. Wait to view the message on a computer to save your device from possibly being compromised.
  5. Don’t access or download any coronavirus maps if you are uncertain of their legitimacy. Hackers are using bogus coronavirus maps to plant malware on computers that can steal your private information (such as usernames, passwords and credit-card numbers).
  6. Use only trusted sources for up-to-date, accurate information about COVID-19. The most authoritative sources of information are and
  7. Verify a charity’s or crowdfunding site’s authenticity before making a donation. Review the Federal Trade Commission’s page on charity scams for more information. 
  8. Hang up on robocalls designed to trick you into giving money or revealing personal information. Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website for more information about handling these calls.
  9. Beware of bogus “investment opportunities.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is warning people about claims that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect or cure coronavirus. 
  10. Don’t join in on the COVID-19 panic. Take the time to carefully evaluate the authenticity of emails, websites, phone calls, texts and social-media posts to stay safe.

Please know that Information Technology Services is here to help. Feel free to contact the ITS Service Desk at 303-352-7548 or with your questions or concerns.

Topics: ITS, Technically Speaking, Technology

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