Beware! Free Omicron online test is fake! Don’t click on these emails; how to save yourself

Behind the free Omicron online test are cybercriminals aiming to steal your personal information, govt warned.

| Updated on: Jan 14 2022, 13:09 IST
Fraudsters are luring people by offering free Omicron online test service. (AFP)
Fraudsters are luring people by offering free Omicron online test service. (AFP)

In a time when the whole world is grappling with rising cases of the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, cybercriminals are trying to turn this into an opportunity to steal. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an alert against cybercriminals targeting potential victims by promising to provide free Omicron online test. Cybercriminals and online fraudsters are sending fake emails regarding PCR testing for an Omicron test with malicious links and files attached to it.

"Cybercriminals are taking advantage of lowering of cyber defences due to the shift of focus to the health crisis. Cybercriminals are always finding new ways to defraud citizens. As nowadays Omicron variant-themed cybercrimes are increasing every day. Cybercriminals are employing various tactics to perpetrate cybercrimes to capitalize on the rapidly evolving situation to defraud innocent victims," the advisory of the cyber and information security division of MHA reads.

Such online frauds in the name of testing are an attempt to steal the personal information of innocent people by imitating the identities of government and private health services. Once the potential victim clicks on the fake malicious links shared by pseudo websites mimicking the UI of government or private health services to let people book an online Covid-19 Omicron test.

According to the advisory, potential victims are offered a free Omicron PCR test, which allows citizens to avoid Omicron-related restrictions imposed by governments. This method allows cybercriminals to gain personal information and banking credentials in order to commit more cyber crimes such as financial cyber frauds, identity theft, and so on.

How to avoid falling into the free Omicron online test trap

Step 1: It is advised to examine the domain name and URL of the website thoroughly to ensure legitimacy.
Step 2: Beware of 'Free'! Most of the fake and malicious links or websites try to lure the citizens via offering free or discount offers. Check the information about the website or service provider.
Step 3: If you find any suspicious activity then you should immediately inform the cybercrime portal of the government of India on - portal.

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First Published Date: 14 Jan, 13:09 IST