As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, Google fights off millions of scam emails, showcasing false COVID-19 information every single day.
COVID-19 has put a large portion of the world on hold, but portion, unfortunately, does not include scam artists and other online trolls. As the majority of people know, scam emails are a frequent and annoying thing. There’s a reason why Gmail and other email service providers have spam folders. But in recent days there’s been a shift. Typically these scam emails attempt to obtain personal information. However, according to BBC News, Google is now reporting that nearly a fifth of all scam emails they block every day are about COVID-19. Each one attempting to spread false information.
To put this into perspective, Google went on to say that of the 100 million scam emails they fight off each day, about 18 million of them are COVID-19 related. This is reportedly the biggest scam email topic in this history of email and the internet as a whole.
According to Google, the majority of scam emails that are sent out attempt to impersonate some sort of health organization. The most common being emails claiming to be sent from the World Health Organization, or WHO for short. Other emails are sent from false names and false business organizations in order to obtain government aid through fraudulent means. Fortunately for the 1.5 billion people that use Gmail, Google claims they’re automated systems are able to block 99.9% of the scam emails from reaching users. Although this is a great statistic, there are still about 100 thousand scam emails being received by Gmail users each day. Granted these are spread across over a billion users, so the odds of getting one are somewhat low.
According to Barracuda Networks, the amount of scam emails pertaining to COVID-19 has increased by 667% in the past few weeks. They also report that the majority of these emails come from sources claiming to be someone of importance. One of the most common being the President of the United States, Donald J Trump.
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Last week, both the US Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Centre released advisories. The advisories warn users to ensure their accounts are secure, and to keep an eye out for emails or other messages that could be a scam.