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LASD warns of COVID-19 online scams and hacking attempts

LASD warns of COVID-19 online scams and hacking attempts

The LASD has seen an uptick in fake emails, texts and phishing scams related to the COVID-19 emergency.

They are warning the public not to click on unknown links that appear in your cellphone texts or in emails and instead go directly to trusted sites by typing in the website address yourself.

Here are some of the common tactics criminals are using:

Fake charities. Scammers play on your good intentions by using names that sound a lot like the names of real charities. Be sure to do your research and donate directly to legitimate charities. Pay safely by credit card, never by gift card or wire transfer.

Phishing emails. These emails often appear to be from familiar company names or pretend to be someone you know. Some have been fake emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with information on the virus. Others can pretend to be from a government agency, in view of the talk of economic stimulus checks, and will ask for your private information to send you money. Be assured legitimate government agencies will never do that. These emails are all dangerous because they contain links that if clicked on, can install software or other programs that can steal your private information or lock you out of your data.

Counterfeit treatments or equipment. Be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19. Watch for counterfeit products such as sanitizing products and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns and gloves. More information on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh.

Protect your computer and electronic devices by:
• Keeping your software up to date and use security software
• Regularly backing up your data
• Setting your cellphone to update software automatically
• Using multi-factor authentication for your accounts

Please follow these tips from the FBI to protect yourself:
• Never open attachments or click links within emails from senders you don’t recognize.
• Never provide your username, password, date of birth, Social Security number, financial data or other personal information in response to an email or robocall.
• Always verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into your browser.
• Check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link (for example, an address that should end in a “.gov” ends in “.com” instead). Don’t trust the link as typed in the email as it can look correct but will actually link to a fraudulent site. Use your mouse to hover over the link (don’t click). The real link will display so you can check it.

Please regularly check our main page for Lakewood-specific coronavirus information and resources at www.lakewoodcity.org/COVID19.