Be aware of e-mail scamming re: Coronavirus

Scammers are working overtime. Please read below:

Dear COA Colleagues,

This office has become aware that cyber criminals are exploiting Coronavirus through emails posing as legitimate medical and or health organizations. (In one instance, victims have received an email purporting to be from a “medical/health organization” – with bogus information regarding the Coronavirus.)

Be on the lookout for:

  • Emails that appear to be from organizations such as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), or the WHO (World Health Organization) or other government agencies. The official source of COVID-19 information in the Commonwealth is https://www.mass.gov/dph
  • Review emails that ask for charity donations for studies, doctors, or to assist victims that have been affected by the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Scammers often create fake charity emails during major events like hurricanes or earthquakes.
  • Other malicious emails tout “new” or “updated” cases. These emails may contain dangerous links and information designed to scare you into clicking on the link. (One example:-- an up-to-date map of reported cases: you get a map along with malware that can steal computer passwords and data.)

Protect yourself from scams:

  • Never click on links or download attachments from an email that you weren’t expecting.
  • If you receive a suspicious email that appears to come from an official organization such as the WHO or CDC, report the email to the official organization through their website.
  • If you want to make a charity donation, go to the charity website of your choice to submit your payment. Type the charity’s web address in your browser instead of clicking on any links in emails, or other messages.

The EOTSS messaging team is working to add a warning to email from external senders. This practice will help people avoid accidentally clicking an unsafe message. Once the change is implemented you will see the following text in emails sent from outside the organization.

CAUTION: Do not click on links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know the content is safe.

Information courtesy of:

John Merto
Commonwealth Chief Information Security Officer

1 Ashburton Place, 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02108
Office: (617) 660-4488 | Mobile: (617) 513-0043
john.merto@mass.gov | www.mass.gov/eotss

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