Coronavirus Email Scams and Phishing on the Rise – Don’t Fall for Them!

Coronavirus Email Scams and Phishing Abound - Don_t Fall for Them!
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As the news and spread of Covid-19 Coronavirus increase so do email scams and phishing attacks, preying on people’s thirst for information about the Coronavirus, about new cases, about who is most vulnerable, who is considered an “older adult”, and about what people should be doing to keep themselves safe. Don’t be taken in by these fraudulent emails!

Typically these scam Corona virus emails will contain a payload such as either a malicious link on which they want you to click, or a malicious attachment which they will want you to open (or both). Unfortunately, there are also legitimate Coronavirus emails being sent by legitimate companies.

[See here for a complete list of Coronavirus hotlines in every state, and see here regarding Internet providers waiving data caps during the Coronacrisis.]

So how do you tell them apart? As we mentioned, the scam Coronavirus emails, like most scam emails, will want you to take an action such as opening an attachment or clicking on an email in order to get any additional information. And they are banking on your being stressed, or even frightened, enough that you will let your guard down, throwing caution to the wind in hopes that the “information” will tell you something – anything – that you may not have already known, and that will turn out to be vital information that will save you. For example, until very recently it was almost impossible to find information about what is considered an “older adult” at risk from the Coronavirus.

One of the Covid-19 email scams that is going around exhorts you to click on a button to download a document of safety measures that you should take. The entire email, which purports to come from the World Health Organization (WHO) reads simply “Dear Sir, Go through the attached document on safety measures regarding the spreading of corona virus. Click on the button below to download. Symptoms common symptoms include fever,coughcshortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Regards, Dr. Stella Chungong Specialist wuhan-virus-advisory”

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Sample: Example of Coronavirus Scam Phishing Email
sample example scam coronavirus phishing malicious

Now you can see from the above sample of a scam Coronavirus email that often, if you look, there will be tell-tale signs. For example, the scammer called it “corona virus”, rather than ‘Coronavirus’, there are typos (“coughcshortness”), and weird terms (“wuhan-virus-advisory”). And, of course, you might be given to wonder how the World Health Organization came to have you on an email list.

By contrast, legitimate email from legitimate organizations should provide you with the information (or at least a lot more information) right in the email – they should never cause you to have to click a link or open an attachment with little-to-no other information. We say “should” because not all otherwise legitimate organizations get it right. But nearly all legitimate organizations will have a website to which you can go directly to find the same information instead of clicking a link. And legitimate organizations will rarely, if ever, send you an attachment out of the blue.

Legitimate Coronavirus Email from Wells Fargo Outlines Steps
wells fargo coronavirus email

Text of Coronavirus Email from Wells Fargo

Dear Wells Fargo Customer,

At Wells Fargo, the health and safety of our customers and employees are top of mind amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We are here to serve you, and we want to share information with you about how we continue to operate safely and effectively. Our thoughts are with anyone affected by the coronavirus.

Steps we’re taking

• Our teams are monitoring information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and federal, state and local agencies to help ensure the actions we’re taking are in line with the latest CDC recommendations and guidance. We are communicating regularly with our employees to keep them informed and to ensure their safety and that of our customers.

• As a precautionary step, we have begun installing hand sanitizer stations in our branches for use by both employees and customers, and we are conducting enhanced cleaning in other facilities as needed.

• Wells Fargo is committed to helping customers experiencing hardships, including from the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). If in need of assistance, we encourage customers to call us at 1-800-219-9739 to speak with a trained specialist to discuss options available for their consumer lending, small business, and deposit products.

Steps you can take

• Stay up to date. For more information on Wells Fargo’s response to (COVID-19), as well as helpful tips and resources, visit our our customer assistance page.

• Learn more about our online and mobile banking features, so you can bank from almost anywhere 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Download our mobile app to deposit checks, pay bills, transfer money, set and receive alerts, and send and receive money through Zelle®. Learn More

• Locate branches and ATMs near you, including hours of operation and operational status. Find Now

Our first priority remains keeping Wells Fargo employees and customers safe and well-informed while doing what we can to help minimize potential spread of the coronavirus. Please know we have devoted significant resources and efforts to help mitigate against possible adverse impacts from the coronavirus, and will continue working hard to provide the level of service you have come to expect.


Your Wells Fargo team

The Federal Trade Commission has put together the following list of ways to keep yourself safe from Coronavirus scam email:

  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. It could download a virus onto your computer or device. Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is up to date.
  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying that have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the Coronavirus, ask yourself: if there’s been a medical breakthrough, would you be hearing about it for the first time through an ad or sales pitch?
  • Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
  • Be alert to “investment opportunities.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.

Have you received a scam Coronavirus email? If so, what did it say?

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One thought on “Coronavirus Email Scams and Phishing on the Rise – Don’t Fall for Them!

  1. Hi,
    very informative are the WHO situations reports, with latest statistics, facts and updated recommendations, issued daily since 21st of January 2020. Browsing through the situation reports will give you a clear picture of where the areas at risk are, how to reduce the risk for yourself, and how the virus has spread. Search for WHO and situation reports in any browser, which will lead you to the link

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