COVID-19: Criminals out to defraud unsuspecting public, WHO warns

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The World Health Organisation (WHO), has raised alarm to advise unsuspecting public to be wary of criminals who are taking advantage of the spread of the Coronavirus known as COVID-19 to steal money and sensitive information.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, gave the warning in the agency’s twitter handle @WHO, according to News Agency of Nigeria report.

“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, 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.

He, however, acknowledged the anxiety that many feel about COVID-19, and emphasized the importance of preparation and how to stay safe at work, school or places of worship.

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