Amazon is not donating food packages and money to Costa Ricans who have been affected by the covid-19 pandemic. / Amazon courtesy photo
























Published Thursday, July 16, 2020

U.S. Embassy alerts on scam


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff


The United States Embassy warned on Wednesday about false information that is being spread on social media, WhatsApp and text messages about fake food and money donations.

According to the embassy, false messages are being shared about distribution of food and free money donated by Amazon with the support of the U.S. Embassy.

Amazon is not donating food packages and money to Costa Ricans who have been affected by the covid-19 pandemic.

"If you have received a call, email or any other type of communication saying that the United States Government, or the Treasury Department, is offering donations or aid payments in exchange for personal financial information or charging an advance fee, this is a scam, " the embassy warned on its social media.

False messages include photos of Presidents Carlos Alvarado and Donald Trump, as well as a statement about donations made by the United States Government.

According to Amazon, another false message about food assistance and free cash to people infected with covid-19 has also recently circulated on social media.

"Get an Amazon2020 food box, and an $887, 30 aid bonus," the fake message reads.

The scammers are using the company's visual identifiers such as their logo to make the offer appear real, but it isn't.

The fake message requested recipients to fill-out a form on the website, www.oficaayuda.club, which is no longer available. Amazon only official page is the well-known amazon.com.

"People must be careful and double-check for authenticity of emails," Amazon said in its alert.

Sites offering Amazon aids are the so-called phishing sites meant to steal sensitive data like bank account information.

Phishing is a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.

Scams on WhatsApp are more common.

On June, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications warned about more fake messages.

According to the Ministry, a new type of scam has been detected through the WhatsApp application.

Hackers have set-up fake URLs for banks and fake websites with genuine sounding names to trick people into handing over their personal information and log-in details.

Scammers were detected on WhatsApp simulating customers' department support of banks. They use fake websites and text messages similar to those used by banks seeking to enter into direct contact with the bank's clients.

The scammers' goal is to exchange messages with people to achieve fraud.

Recently a text message was detected in WhatsApp that has been shared by the users of that platform, in which loans and other types of financial services are offered.

The goal of these scammers is to obtain the sensitive data of the bank's clients, such as the number of bank accounts and secret access codes to those accounts.

Specialists urge people not to respond to these messages in WhatsApp. Among the main recommendations are:

Stay alert. If you receive emails or text messages from unknown senders, do not open it. Ignore it.

Never click on links shared in WhatsApp to access bank web pages.

Never answer calls of unknown numbers or anonymous profiles offering loans on social networks or platforms like WhatsApp.

In case of receiving messages from your bank, immediately verify with their corresponding customer support department.

When in doubt, contact the bank or financial institution directly at the official phone numbers provided.

Verify on the official site of your bank for listed phone numbers.

Check that WhatsApp business accounts are official. That can be verified by checking that the title name has a green check mark on the right side.

Never reply to anonymous emails or text messages from unknown contacts.

Never provide by phone or text message your bank account information.

If you have doubts on a received email or text message asks the experts of the National Computer Incident Response Center by emailing, cybersecurity@micitt.go.cr.

If you are a victim of a scam, call the Judicial Investigation Organization confidential line 800-800-0645.


 

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What other advice would you give people to avoid fraud through social networks or WhatsApp?
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