email scam

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‘Hacked off’: Beware of ‘pandemic’ of digital scams spreading

During this time when many of us have gone online with our lives, scammers pose a very real threat. Here’s what to look out for.

email scam

Photo: Adobe Stock

The COVID-19 pandemic is not the only threat to the world as scammers and hackers are using this time of confusion and panic to rip people off their livelihood.

Here’s a list of what to look out for and how to safeguard yourself against these online dangers:


Fake and malicious websites are created to distribute and infect your device with malware. There are unofficial websites using the word “corona” to lure people in and hack into their devices. Avoid providing your e-mail and personal information on sites that you aren’t familiar with.

Spam e-mails

Spam e-mails with catchy wording are sent to entice you into opening the e-mail to allow hackers access into your device using dangerous links and attachments. Delete all suspicious spam without opening it and avoid clicking on the links provided.

Phishing scams

Fake e-mails and communications that appear to be from the World Health Organisation (WHO) are created by scammers with phishing links. Phishing can be done by e-mail, SMS text or a phone call. Scammers will call you pretending to be from an organisation to extract information from you.

Do not provide your identity number and personal details if you are unsure of the source. Visit the website of the organisation instead and call the number provided. If you receive a text claiming that you have won a competition that you did not enter, chances are the communication is a scam to extract your information.

A popular scam that’s doing the rounds is one where you receive communication from a lawyer who wishes to talk to you about your deceased relative. The scammers claim that there is an inheritance for you, which you can only access after “verifying” your identity.

Fake charities

Scammers are creating fake charities to ask people for assistance for COVID19 relief. Charities would never send you an e-mail asking for donations.

Warning signs

Scammers and hackers are desperate to get your information and because of this they often slip up and make mistakes.

Here are some things to look out for:

  • Bad spelling or grammar in e-mails and texts;
  • Unexpected and rushed communication;
  • Information that is too good to be true;
  • Suspicious e-mail addresses and links that require your personal information; and
  • Links from an unknown source that require you to download an attachment.

Cybercriminals are constantly looking for ways to access your personal information, passwords and banking details to steal your identity, your hard-earned money or even to sell your information.

Report any suspicious activity to: or call this toll free number at 0800 222 117.