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Ajman: Police issued a warning to residents on Wednesday, urging them not to open any type of unsolicited links related to the coronavirus.

Ajman Police said it received a number of complaints against hackers who took advantage of residents’ interest surrounding COVID-19 developments, who reportedly sent out links used to phish people’s personal accounts and also spread viruses.

In an announcement, police said: “Fraudsters who hacked computers and smartphones have taken advantage of the coronavirus crisis by spreading viruses and spy links in the name of COVID-19 treatment and other types of information related to the pandemic, with the aim of phishing people’s accounts.”

“We urge community members not to respond to suspicious links and to ensure that family members are also aware of the fake links, which can be used to steal personal data, photos and passwords. The hackers' sole intent is to use such personal information for blackmail, defamation and theft of funds,” cautioned Ajman Police.

What is phishing?

This is a relatively recent word – Oxford English Dictionary dates it to the 1990s. The dictionary defines the term as: “The fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit-card numbers.”

Such emails will often state that there’s an issue with your account or payment details. They’ll request an action such as confirmation or sharing of personal data, bank account number or other information.