The World Health Organisation, WHO, has warned that criminals are taking advantage of the spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19, to steal money and sensitive information.
The Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, gave the warning in the agency’s twitter handle @WHO.
“If anyone is contacted by a person or organisation claiming to be from the WHO, they should take steps to verify their authenticity.
“Examples of suspicious behaviours include asking for login information, sending unasked-for email attachments, directing people to a website other than www.who.int, and asking for direct donations to emergency response plans or funding appeals.
“WHO firmly states that it never does any of these things, and warns that scams can come in the form of emails, websites, phone calls, text messages, and even fax messages.
“Malicious emails sent by scammers are known as “phishing” emails.
“They appear to come from the WHO and ask for sensitive information, such as user names and passwords, ask users to click on suspicious links, and open malicious attachments.
“Following these instructions allows criminals to install softwares that can give them access to your information or damage computers,’’ he warned.
In addition, he advised people to verify information by verifying the sender, by checking their email addresses, checking the link before you click.
“Be careful when providing personal information, If you are giving sensitive information, do not rush or feel under pressure, don’t panic, when you see a scam, report it.
As many social media accounts share information about COVID-19, Ghebreyesus called on the public to seek official sources (such as the WHO website) to find out how to protect oneself, loved ones and the local community.
The WHO website has comprehensive, regularly updated and authoritative expert information on the virus.
He, however, acknowledged the anxiety that many feel about COVID-19, and emphasised the importance of preparation, and planning how to stay safe at work, school or places of worship.