While tens of millions of people around the world are in lockdown as the biggest disaster since WWII strikes with shocking and deadly ramifications, there is one dark area that needs just as much attention as social distancing.
“There are over 65,000 new suspicious domain names registered across the world for the sole purpose of committing large scale fraud online."
Cybercriminals have pounced with force, especially in Australia, focusing on those who are at home paying more attention to the internet, as some continue to work and others fight boredom over imposed isolation, while many are fretting over their financial future and that of their families.
Millions of people are vulnerable, scared and confused over what is going on around them and that makes for a perfect environment for cybercriminals to sharpen their approach and go in for an easier target.
“The recent coronavirus pandemic has created an enormous opportunity for cybercriminals to target vulnerable Australians,” Cybercrime expert and IFW Global Executive Chairman Ken Gamble explained.
“There are over 65,000 new suspicious domain names registered across the world for the sole purpose of committing large scale fraud online. (source: Domain Tools)
“The criminal groups involved in cyber fraud are using the pandemic to create an array of deceptive online scams. Australians, and people around the world, should remain extremely vigilant online, and conduct proper due diligence before making purchases, or engaging with anyone online.
“Scams include the recent fake Woolworths vouchers, fake cures, requests for donations, medical scams and fake stimulus packages”.
Mr Gamble said that due to the massive influx of coronavirus scams, law enforcement agencies are under extreme pressure right now and many cases are not able to be investigated.
He said graphic images across all media platforms are gaining all the attention, as the world shudders over deaths, infections and job losses. But attention should not be lost on criminals who are reaching into family homes through sophisticated online scams.
“IFW Global’s intelligence confirms that boiler rooms operated by criminal groups in SE Asia, who are usually involved in large scale investment fraud over the Internet and telephone, are now turning their attention to sophisticated coronavirus scams to cash in on the pandemic and target vulnerable people sitting at home unsure of what the future holds.”
Common Scam Methods And How To Protect Yourself
Common methods used by scammers include the distribution of fake news stories with a link to a scam website, direct digital marketing to personal and business email accounts, cold calls over the telephone, targeted campaigns on all social media platforms such as paid pop-up Facebook, Instagram and Twitter adverts.
For example, superannuation scams purporting early access to funds or too-good-to-be-true investment schemes can take place over the phone and email, and have been on the rise since the pandemic.
Protect Yourself With These 5 Tips
- Never take online advertisements on face value, especially if you see a celebrity’s picture attached – do your research.
- Check government websites for scam alerts.
- If it’s too good to be true, it’s generally a scam.
- Do not provide personal information to unverified sources and never provide remote access to your computer.
- Use email, SMS or social media providers that offer spam and message scanning.
If you believe you have been the victim of a cybercrime or you would like to share intelligence with us confidentially, contact IFW Global today.