Scammers are flooding phones with text messages related to the Coronavirus. According to security experts Symantec the number of scam COVID-19 text messages has increased 300% since January.
These texts are what’s known as phishing scams. They attempt to get you to click on a malicious link by impersonating financial institutions and government agencies.
The messages target people filing for unemployment or those who are expecting COVID-19 assistance payments. If you fall for the scam and tap the link, you’ll either be taken to a fake site that requests your personal information or to one that downloads malicious software onto your phone and steals it anyway.
These crooks target both Android and Apple devices
The message will say it is from your bank or from a government agency. You’ll be told that urgent action is needed in order to receive some type of payment.
Other scams will claim that someone you know has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and reported you as a contact. To find out what to do next, you need to tap the link. Some promise free masks or links to where you can get tested.
Beware of any text message like this. Banks and government agencies seldom communicate through text messages.
Even if you suspect that a message might be the real thing, don’t click on the link. Open up a browser separately and log onto your account. Or look up the number for the agency or financial institution in question and call their customer service number to check.