Many people are panic and anxiety-stricken by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, and fraudsters and scammers are exploiting these fears to make a profit. While cyber-security may seem like a problem that should be on the back burner during these difficult times, people need to watch for, and not fall into, the deceiving traps set by these scammers. There are some red flags to look out for...

According to the United States Department of Justice, there are a handful of scams that have popped up on websites or social media platforms. People have reported receiving emails with fake awareness, prevention tips, and false information on cases in their own neighborhoods. The DOJ listed some of the most common scams you should watch out for to protect your privacy:

  • Treatment Scams: Scammers sell fake medication for “cures” and “vaccines” for the virus.

  • Supply Scams: Scammers create fake websites and other platforms for customers to buy limited-supply equipment that could be useful to protect against the virus. In turn, they pocket the money and leave people devoid of the product they have “purchased”.

  • Provider Scams: Scammers are calling and emailing households claiming that a friend or family member received treatment for the coronavirus and request payment for that treatment.

  • Charity Scams: Scammers are creating fake charities related to COVID-19 and collecting donations.

  • Phishing Scams: Scammers are impersonating the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide personal information or download harmful malware.

  • App Scams: Scammers are deploying and creating mobile apps related to the COVID-19 to gain personal information of users.

  • Investment Scams: Scammers are luring people to invest in fake stocks attached with false “research reports” that indicate the stock is likely to boom.


To protect the safety of you and your family, here are some helpful tips to avoid falling victim to these traps:

  • Don't click on links or attachments, especially if you're not expecting them, even from people you may know.  Only use reputable, well-known companies for services such as antivirus software or firewalls.

  • To avoid phishing emails, be sure to look out for some common red flags, such as suspicious sender addresses, generic greetings and signature, spoofed hyperlinks and websites, misspellings, inconsistent formatting, and suspicious attachments.

  • Verify the identity of any person, company, or charity that contacts you regarding the COVID-19.

  • Install and upkeep antivirus software, firewalls, and email filters to steer clear from some of this traffic.

  • Do NOT reveal any personal or financial information over email or phone solicitations.

  • When on a website make sure to keep an eye out for the Uniform Resource Locator (URL). Look for URLs that begin with "https"—an indication that sites are secure—rather than "http.” Also, be sure to look for a closed padlock icon—a sign your information will be encrypted.

Rhinebeck Bank wants to make sure you have all the knowledge necessary to keep your information and privacy protected during these uncertain times.

For more information on cyber-security, please visit