• Office of the Comptroller

COVID-19 Related Scams Increasing

Cyber experts are warning of significant increases in email, web, and phone scams.Departments should remind staff to be skeptical of all emails, since many recent phishing scams resemble normal business emails. 

Heightened scrutiny should be given to emails related to any type of payments, as criminals are targeting COVID-19 vendors and others who may be receiving funds or payments for services or grants. Any email that is requesting changes to payment information, especially payment addresses or electronic fund transfers, must be independently validated with current information on file to ensure that the request is legitimate and not an attempt to divert payment. 

Staff should be reminded not to open emails that have catchy headlines, such as “Your payments are ready”, “Newest Coronavirus cases hit your area”, or “Immediate Action Needed for your Payment”, since these emails are often carrying malware and ransomware that can infect laptops, phones, PCs and systems. Malware infections are not always immediately visible. Often staff will click on an attachment or link that will not open, but still download malware. Scammers will also attempt to make emails look like they are coming from a familiar source such as your HR department. Don’t click on links in emails unless you are sure they are from a trusted source. And if you do click on a link, and any unusual activity occurs, immediately alert your IT staff.

Cybersecurity updates are posted on MAComptroller.org to promote cybersecurity awareness and improve overall cyber safety.

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