Coronavirus scams revealed in new police warning

Police in the Netherlands issued a blunt warning telling the public to be on the lookout for cybercriminals using the coronavirus to swindle people. The scammers often use fake emails or fake text messages to obtain personal information from their victims, police said in a statement.

One of the ways cybercriminals have used the coronavirus is by sending emails where they pretend to be representatives of government agencies, companies or employers. The criminals send links via these channels to trick people into providing personal data which can then be exploited. Often the links or attachments lead the user to install a virus or malware on their own computers.

"People are obviously more likely to click a link when it is by a known official or company," a spokesperson told NL Times.

In other situations, the fraudsters create fake websites where they sell coronavirus-related products, like surgical masks. Clients pay for the product, but of course the product is never delivered.

"You can often recognize these fake webshops by the fact that they only offer a payment option via a link, instead of more acceptable options like iDeal," the police said.

Swindlers have also been known to knock on the doors of the elderly pretending to be a nurse or asking if they can help them with grocery shopping. They then use the opportunity to trick the victim out of a debit card or pin code.