Several fraudulent schemes have been reported:
- A malicious Android app that pretends to be a “Coronavirus Tracking App” is actually ransomware that will infect the phone and lock it until payment is received. The malicious app is downloaded at (coronavirusapp[.]site).
- Beware of hackers posing as CDC or WHO representatives in phishing attacks.
- Be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission issued a warning regarding seven companies selling fraudulent COVID-19 products. Learn more at: fda.gov.
As our city manager advises, there are several coronavirus tracking and mapping sites that are actually malware websites. Instead of clicking on these links, hover over the link to verify the uniform resource locator (URL) before moving forward. Online hackers may also send emails from fraudulent accounts impersonating official websites and doctors, or offering medical supplies and services.
A recent advisory from Los Angeles County shared safety tips on how to combat these schemes:
- Avoid online advertising offers related to COVID-19
- Decline solicitors claiming fundraising efforts for COVID-19
- Do not click on any email or attachment you do not recognize
- Only visit trusted websites for information
- A trusted source for up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 is the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus information page at coronavirus.jhu.edu. (However, beware of any emails seemingly from Johns Hopkins. A malicious website (corona-virus-map[dot]com) looks similar to a legitimate site from Johns Hopkins showing worldwide COVID-19 cases. The malicious website hosts a map of COVID-19 cases but launches a virus that will steal information, including sensitive data.)
Other safe, informational websites include the following:
- County of Los Angeles: covid19.lacounty.gov
- County of Los Angeles Public Health: publichealth.lacounty.gov
- California Department of Public Health: cdph.ca.gov
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: cdc.gov
Dr. Katherine Thorossian