Dubai: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a “coronavirus scam alert”, warning the public against falling prey to criminals who may be using the organisation’s name to steal money or information.
The WHO in its latest alert has said, “Criminals are disguising themselves as WHO to steal money or sensitive information. If you are contacted by a person or organisation that appears to be from WHO, verify their authenticity before responding.”
WHO has categorically stated that it will:
• Never ask you to login to view safety information
• Never email attachments you didn’t ask for
• Never ask you to visit a link outside of www.who.int
• Never charge money to apply for a job, register for a conference, or reserve a hotel
• Never conduct lotteries or offer prizes, grants, certificates or funding through email
• Never ask you to donate directly to emergency response plans or funding appeals
It said the public should be guarded against criminals who use email, websites, phone calls, text messages and even fax messages for their scams.
How the coronavirus scam works:
WHO said it is aware of suspicious email messages attempting to take advantage of the 2019 novel coronavirus emergency. The “phishing” emails, which appear to be from WHO, ask the public to:
• Give sensitive information, such as usernames or passwords
• Click a malicious link
• Open a malicious attachment.
Using this method, criminals can install malware or steal sensitive information.
How to prevent the coronavirus scam:
- Verify the sender by checking their email address. Make sure the sender has an email address such as ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. If there is anything other than ‘who.int’ after the ‘@’ symbol, this sender is not from WHO.
- WHO does not send email from addresses ending in ‘@who.com’ , ‘@who.org’ or ‘@who-safety.org’ .
- Check the link before you click. Make sure the link starts with ‘https://www.who.int’. Better still, navigate to the WHO website directly, by typing ‘https://www.who.int’ into your browser.
- Be careful when providing personal information. Always consider why someone wants your information and if it is appropriate. There is no reason someone would need your username and password to access public information.
- Do not rush or feel under pressure. Cybercriminals use emergencies such as 2019-nCov to get people to make decisions quickly. Always take time to think about a request for your personal information, and whether the request is appropriate.
- If you gave sensitive information, don’t panic. If you believe you have given data such as your username or passwords to cybercriminals, immediately change your credentials on each site where you have used them.
- If you see a scam, report it on the WHO’s website (https://www.who.int/about/report_scam/en/)