Opportunistic scammers have found a new way to exploit their marks during the coronavirus pandemic: Pretending to be a government agency and fining victims for breaking quarantine by leaving their home.
The scammers have targeted multiple staffers at The Verge, the publication reports, who got convincing-looking emails claiming they had been recorded leaving their homes several times and needed to pay up. Online scams aren’t new, but this new one illustrates how vulnerable targets could be while trying to navigate the government’s scattered coronavirus response.
“We would like to inform you that you have been recorded as leaving your home on 3 occasions yesterday,” the read a scam email obtained by The Verge. “A fine of $59 has been added to your gov.us account.”
Needless to say, no such government program exists. Which is ironic, The Verge notes, because a more aggressive push to fight the coronavirus pandemic may have prevented the mass infections, deaths, and economic devastation hitting the U.S.
Scammers have been exploiting the confusion and lack of information surrounding the coronavirus pandemic for months, The Verge reports. Staff there have also received emails claiming to contain their coronavirus testing results or claiming that a federal lockdown was imminent.
With no end to the pandemic in sight, it’s likely that new scams will continue to pop up. So, needless to say, try to avoid clicking suspicious links on emails that don’t quite add up.