It seems that viruses are not the only thing that evolves in these times of trouble; scammers also go through an evolution of their own, and they spread panic all over with misinformation that any layman would believe. Coronavirus is spreading fast across the world. In the social media era, it is easy to fall victim to disinformation, which is precisely what scammers are doing these days.
“You’ve been lied to about the coronavirus,” says an ominous voice over the sight of mass graves, which is enough to draw people into an alarming scam. “Military Source Exposes Shocking TRUTH About Coronavirus” is the title of a viral video that claims to hold the truth about the COVID-19, or more “accurately”, the Coronavirus mass government coverup.
The video continues with supposed proof that the government is lying to its people, and in fact, the news lies about the virus and the actual numbers of the sick and the casualties.
“You’ve been lied to about the Coronavirus… Will you have the knowledge you need to be a hero to your family? Or will you panic and wind up just another body that loved ones are afraid to bury?”
These chilling words are enough to send panic through people’s hearts, and the video gets worse with its depictions of a pending and imminent apocalypse.
Unfortunately, this video is not the only one regarding the pandemic that has taken the lives of thousands globally. Many other videos reach millions that go unnoticed, even by Google’s sweeping tools. It is believed that the scammers behind the viral videos are political advertisers that use the videos and newsletter marketing tools.
The clever part is, that like with other email scams, the videos spreading lies about the Coronavirus are made to look as truthful as possible. People who have not even registered to receive newsletters get the videos that do everything to get recipients to open them.
How does it work? The scammers’ email spread in a simple enough way; the source of the video runs a Google ad that is designed to get you to click on it, famously known as clickbait. Once you enter the ad and provide your email address, you will be targeted for much more than polls and newsletters.
By now, most people would have opened the videos that are attached to the mail they receive, making them a target for spam emails. For the past several weeks, scam videos have reached millions, creating confusion in an already confusing time.
So why would popular news websites use this strategy to spread panic? Just like with other scams, the Coronavirus videos aim to get people to spend their money. From magical curing mushrooms to stock market hacks, news spammers, like Newsmax, benefit from people clicking on their ads. The more people register to newsletters and the more people click on ads, the bigger the payday.
Google does its best to fight the phenomena, and it has already set up a 24-hour incident response team that cooperates with the World Health Organization to separate the truth from the lies. Unfortunately, scammers and spammers have ways to adapt to Google’s changing policies and reach millions despite getting caught or taxed.
Aside from Google, Instagram has also joined the fight against misinformation; the popular social media outlet has banned AR mask filters, along with an alert system about Coronavirus posts. The goal is to fight the spread of false news by creating an alert system that users can tap to report posts that contain the ‘truth’ about the virus.
Until things settle down and a cure for Coronavirus is found, it is vital to keep away from false information that does more harm than the virus itself. To avoid getting scammed and mislead, you should only get your data from reliable news outlets and certified health organizations that have accurate information about the COVID-19. You should also avoid registering for newsletters and clicking on ads that are not essential. Preventing from answering political polls will not affect you negatively, but exposing yourself to wide-spread panic will.
You can also use a reverse email search service, like the one provided by GoLookUp, to find out who is emailing you before you open mail in your inbox. If you receive mail from unknown origins, you should not open it immediately. People who spread malware and false information use clickbait to get you to open their mail, so you should avoid doing so, even if the mail sounds very important.
So, before opening mail from sources you do not recognize, you should the reverse email search provided by GooLookUp. The public records search engine provides information about email addresses, like who sends it, where it was sent from and if the address is legitimate.
You should also get information from reliable sources, like well-known news websites and channels. FOX News, MSNBC, CNN, and other resources work tirelessly with official authorities to deliver the latest news, and not only with the Corona outbreak. The CDC site is yet another source of accurate and real-time information that you can rely on; the CDC posts around the clock updates about whatever is going on so you can stay posted on the COVID-19 at all times.
You need to regain the power that is lost by panic and keep yourself and your family safe from the dangers of disinformation.
The Coronavirus continues to spread, and not even health experts can predict what will happen in the next few months. It is up to us to strive to learn the truth and get the most accurate information possible so that we can keep away from harm. To protect your psyche, as well as your physical health, do not believe everything you hear and avoid ominous videos that claim to have the whole truth. There is not a man alive that has this asset.