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How to avoid Covid-19 online scams: Google explains

Google has launched a dedicated portal listing out tips users can follow to avoid Covid-19 scams.

Recently, there has been a significant rise in online scams related to COVID-19.
Recently, there has been a significant rise in online scams related to COVID-19. (REUTERS)

Misinformation and online scams around Covid-19 have been on the rise and spreading extensively. Hackers are taking advantage of this situation to dupe people through online scams. To help people become more aware of such scams, Google has listed out tips through a dedicated portal in India.

"Recently, there has been a significant rise in online scams related to COVID-19. We're providing these tips to help you spot and avoid these scams, so you can stay safer online," Google said in its website.

 

The common types of scams happen in the form of stealing your personal data, fake offers on products, impersonation of authorities, fake medical offers, and fake charity donations as well. To remain secure and be alert on these Covid-19 scams, here are some tips to help you:

1. While emails are quite popular among online scams, hackers can also try to reach people through SMS, automated calls and malicious websites. Keep an eye out for messages on all these platforms.

2. There are many sites and portals for information on Covid-19. There are many impersonators as well. If there's any doubt then visit trusted sources like the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) or the World Health Organisation (WHO).

3. Be very careful with requests which ask for more than required personal banking information. Remember to never share your financial details with anyone else as even the bank will never ask for them.

4. There are many fundraisers for Covid-19 right now which people can contribute to. But this can also give hackers a chance to create fake ones. Research and find the legitimate nonprofits and donate directly to these organisations.

5. It's always wise to stay away from clickbait links and it's even more important now. Don't fall for links and addresses that seem fishy and contain errors in the URL. They're probably fake and are a ploy to scam people.

6. You can also check to see if a fraudulent message has been reported. You can do this by copying and pasting the email address, phone number or parts of the message on the web to see if it's been reported.

7. One important step everyone should take is to enable two-factor authentication. Popular apps like Gmail, WhatsApp, Instagram offer two-factor authentication for double security.