Scams and cyber crimes expected to rise, according to FBI

File photo. (Photo: FBI)
File photo. (Photo: FBI)(KOSA)
Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 4:43 PM MDT
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The FBI expects to see an up-tick in cyber crime due to COVID-19.

"The actual cyber scams are not new, it's just that they are preying upon the fears and uncertainties of COVID-19 to lend legitimacy or to allow more people to fall for those type of scams," said Supervisory Special Agent Stephanie Cassioppi with the FBI's Minneapolis Cyber Squad.

These types of scams are widely varied-- like the most popular scam where a person pays for their online shopping, but doesn't receive the products, to the new scams of fake COVID-19 tests, or bad masks.

"We're seeing a lot of small dollar amount scams that are, when taken as a whole, are actually quite prevalent," said Cassioppi.

With COVID-19 specifically, certain industries are being targeted more than others, like the heath care, or anyone who has publicly come out and said they are involved in Coronavirus treatment or research. Scammers hide behind well-known names to lend legitimacy to their bogus setup.

Also, now that the stimulus checks have started hitting peoples' bank accounts, Cassioppi said scammers are trying to hit as well.

"And so, we're seeing a lot of phishing attempts to try to get them to put in their bank account information and try to gain access to those funds," said Cassioppi.

Cassioppi said the best way to avoid scams is being vigilant, not opening random attachments, having long passwords that are often changed, and not entering information on a website if you didn't initiate the contact.

Cassippio said most of these scams start outside of the United States, which make them difficult to chase down. The FBI also has to know about scams in order to deal with them, so please report any to