Avoid coronavirus (COVID-19) scams

By Elvis Huff on March 16, 2020
7 minute read

Scammers and cyber criminals are now emerging hoping to prey on fears amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

What can you do to avoid these scams?

  1. Be wary of unsolicited offers of cures, free tests and other emails. Scammers often try to offer a free test or cure to prey on fears.
  2. Question charities that immediately spring up offering to assist those in need.
  3. Per the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), avoid emails that appear to come directly from the experts about the virus. Go directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) websites for your information.
  4. Seek council – ask someone to take a look and examine the item in question with you. If you are concerned whether the email, letter, offer, etc., is legitimate, reach out and ask someone you know and trust to take a look with you.

Scams that have emerged so far

According to the Homeland Security, Federal Trade Commission, BBC, Consumer Reports, and Krebs on Security, below is a list of scams that have emerged so far:

  1. Fake work-from-home jobs: don’t become a money mule
    • Brian Krebs reported one elaborate scheme designed to entice those looking for a work from home job. The job, posed as a charity, has online interviews and legitimate looking applications. As always, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  2. Emails promising a cure
    • Email message purportedly from a doctor who knew about a vaccine
    • Email contains suspicious links to pay dividends to the attackers
  3. Covid-19 tax refund
    • Emails surrounding offerings of extra tax refunds due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19)
  4. Attachment that saves you
    • Attackers have crafted a creative email that appears to be from the World Health Organization (WHO) and contains an attachment of a listing of life saving steps against the virus.
  5. Virus transmission 
    • Attackers are sending emails advising that the virus is traveling the globe through the air. The email appears to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  6. Donate
    • Emails and charities are springing up quickly soliciting donations to help those affected, stop the spread of the virus and assist major organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
  7. Fake Maps
    • Brian Krebs relayed that attackers have created a fake map detailing where the latest cases of the virus are. When you click on the link intending to go the map, the map installs malware on your computer.
  8. Fake Products
    • Beware of products claiming to cure the virus that do not come from trusted medical professionals.
      Check out Consumer Reports’ article for more info.


Wilson Bank and Trust is here for you. Should you need help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us online at wilsonbank.com, our mobile app, or call us at (844) WBT-BANK (844-928-2265).

Have another thought, tip or suggestion? Leave it in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

Posted by Elvis Huff

Elvis Huff worked as an officer and network administrator for 12 years with the Lebanon Police Department and has also served as an adjunct professor in information systems at Cumberland University. Read More »

One Comment

  1. Emma J Connolly March 21, 2020 at 8:10 am

    JB Pritzker

    Emma Connolly

    Dear Emma:

    Thank you for contacting the office of Governor JB Pritzker. The Governor makes it a top priority to take all constituent correspondence into consideration. All comments, concerns, and suggestions are welcome.

    After careful review of your letter, it was determined that it deals with an issue that falls under the jurisdiction of the Illinois State Treasurer. We have forwarded the information you provided to a liaison within the Treasurer’s Office. For more information please contact the Treasurer’s Office at (217) 782-2211 or visit their website


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