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FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) today warned of an ongoing phishing campaign delivering spam that uses fake government economic stimulus checks as bait to steal personal information from potential victims. "Look out for phishing emails asking you to verify your personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government," IC3's alert says. "While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news cycle, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking your private information in order to send you money." The FBI issued another warning about a phishing scam impersonating the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2008 and trying to steal taxpayers' personal information using economic stimulus checks as bait. Similar campaigns might also ask potential victims for donations to various charities, promise general financial relief and airline carrier refunds, as well as try to push fake COVID-19 cures, vaccines, and testing kits. Other active phishing attacks are also taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to infect victims with malware and harvest their personal info via spam impersonating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other similar organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO). The FBI also says that scammers are also trying to sell products claiming to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure the COVID-19 disease, as well counterfeit sanitizing products and personal protective equipment (PPE), including but not limited to N95 respirator masks, gloves, protective gowns, goggles, and full-face shields. To avoid getting scammed by fraudsters, infected with malware, or have your personal information stolen, IC3 recommends not clicking on links or open attachments sent by people you don't know and to always make sure that the websites you visit are legitimate by typing their address in the browser instead of clicking hyperlinks. You should also never provide sensitive information like user credentials, social security numbers, or financial data when asked over email or as part of a robocall. To make it easier to spot phishing and scam attempts, you can also check the domain of websites you visit for misspellings or for the wrong top-level domain (TLD) at the end of the site's URL — .com or .net instead of .gov, the sponsored top-level domain (sTLD) used by US government sites. You can read the full FBI Warning on OUR FORUM.

 

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