Serasa Encina, the educational arm of Serasa Consumidor, listed 6 very important tips for consumers to protect themselves from scams on the internet that use Coronavirus as an argument to deceive and sensitize people.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a reality that affects the entire world population. Here in Brazil, nothing else is mentioned in newspapers, television, news sites, and all social networks. As is usual with any subject that gains a lot of relevance in a short time, the spread of false news involving the subject has already started to show. In other words: the increase in fake news and scams using coronavirus already causes damage on the internet.
“In addition to generating panic and alienating the population about the real problems of the disease, fake news can have serious financial consequences. Internet criminals take advantage of the public’s curiosity about this very important subject to steal data and, thus, apply scams that can cause serious damage to your bank account”, explains Joyce Carla, financial educator at Serasa Encina.
Below, check out the 6 tips:
1 – WhatsApp is not a newspaper
It can be a group of family, work and even your friends. In times of a lot of information, not everything they share is real. That homemade recipe from your grandmother’s friend or some link to a miracle cure for the virus is likely to be broken! When in doubt, pay attention to the news to have information from a reliable source and to know exactly how to act during a crisis.
ATTENTION: The Ministry of Health has a fake news verification number on WhatsApp – (61) 992894640, which can be called in these cases. It is worth remembering that the channel does not work as a service to consumers, nor does it answer questions about the disease. It only serves to classify viral information into true or false.
2 – Always check sources
This is one of the basic commands for investigating any information. If organizations or people you’ve never heard of and don’t have contact with, send you something, be suspicious. Search first, the internet is there for it! You can tell if the news is real or fake news after a simple Google search. See if the information appears in other reputable places before clicking on any questionable links. If the content is in only one place, that’s a bad sign.
3- Do not share your data
This tip sounds basic, but it should be reinforced in crises like this. Never share your ID, CPF, bank details, and card information unnecessarily. We know that a fraud attempt is carried out every 17 seconds in Brazil. By sharing your data you are much more exposed to scams. Even bypassing this information on to acquaintances, you are at risk! It is not known if a family member or friend’s number has been cloned and is being used to harm you.
4 – Be wary of donation links
Internet criminals are very creative and can take advantage of your goodwill in this difficult time. Donations are the main way to attract Internet users to dangerous links and websites. After you fill in data on the platform, the money can be diverted to hackers who can also use your data to make purchases, improper loans, and crimes involving your CPF.
5 – Don’t download unknown apps
Links to download fake applications about COVID-19 are already circulating on the internet. An example of them is COVID19Tracker. Theoretically, through the app, you can see interactive maps of the spread of the disease and worldwide statistical data. But it is malware that encrypts and blocks the cell phone, computer, and other devices where it is installed. So stay tuned! Access only safe websites and DO NOT CLICK on unknown links to download apps.
6 – Monitor your CPF
With all these threats in groups, questionable websites, and shared links, it’s ideal to always be on the lookout for your data. As we’ve already talked about, many hackers can use your information to harm you. The easiest way for criminals to do this is using your social security number! However, it is possible to have a complete report and know it every time your CPF is consulted. For this, you can use Serasa Antifraud. In addition to monitoring your CPF 24 hours a day, you can check if your data is from the dark web. This way you are safer against scams and frauds.