On average, a cyberattack happens every 39 seconds in the U.S., according to the University of Maryland. While companies strive to enhance their cybersecurity every day by using updated and more sophisticated security systems, cybercriminals also improve their tactics. This is a problem because the pandemic has led to a surge in internet usage in the U.S., as reported by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Moreover, the distribution of the COVID vaccine in the U.S. has led to a spike in vaccine phishing scams. Here’s some more information about phishing related to the vaccine.
Vaccine Phishing Scams
After a whole year of fear, economic recession, and social isolation, most Americans are tired of the so-called “new normal.” The breakthrough in the quest for a COVID-19 vaccine brings some hope of the world returning to normal. For this reason, a majority of internet searches are now about the coronavirus vaccine. With the vaccine generating so much interest on the internet, the number of phishing scams related to the vaccine has spiked. In response, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has urged citizens to remain vigilant when using the internet to stay safe from phishing scams.
Recent reports of vaccine phishing scams include:
- Instructions to pay for the vaccine out of pocket – According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMC), the COVID-19 vaccine will be free for people with Medicare. The vaccine will likely be covered under many insurance plans. This means that any directive to pay cash will most likely be a scam.
- E-commerce sellers from unrecognized websites marketing the vaccine – Numerous websites sprout up every day to market the vaccine. While some may be legitimate, be careful of the unrecognized ones as they may contain malware.
- Digital advertisement of the vaccine through calls, text messages, emails, and social media platforms – Such advertisement strategies could lead to cyberattacks. Do not open unsolicited mail or click on links from companies unknown to you. Install software to help block every malicious email or text message.
- Fake COVID-19 themed products – Apart from advertising the vaccine, rogue sellers are now marketing their products using vaccine-related terms to draw traffic to their websites. This can be dangerous for your device in case you click on a malicious link.
- Paying a fee for early access to the vaccine – Due to the high demand for the vaccine, you may receive a call from someone promising to deliver the vaccine sooner. Stay alert and avoid falling for such scams.
- Offers to register and claim for the vaccine from fake government officials – Many government websites have a registration option. However, there are also fake websites that you should avoid.
- Malicious callers asking you to verify your eligibility for the vaccine – You may receive a call from someone purporting to be your insurance provider, who then asks you to give your details for verification of vaccine eligibility.
- Upfront payment for the vaccine – Anyone who asks you to pay for the vaccine beforehand is a con.
- Someone coming to vaccinate you at your home for a fee – Do not allow anyone claiming to have the vaccine to vaccinate you for a fee at your home.
Apart from tightening your cybersecurity, you should also educate your employees concerning the latest COVID-19 vaccine scams. This will help keep your business cyber-resilient during the current pandemic.
With the surge in vaccine phishing and other pandemic-related scams, you should take all the necessary measures to protect your business from cybercriminals. One of the best ways to do this is to purchase the right cyber insurance. At Hoffman Brown Company, we are always on the lookout for more information on how our clients can stay safe and protected. We are ready to help you find reliable and responsible insurance for your business. To get started, contact us today!