Kiwis are being warned to be vigilant against online phishing scams as they seek to stay informed and connect during the coronavirus pandemic.
This comes amid reports of scams which try to trick people into giving up their passwords in order to learn urgent information about Covid-19.
In New Zealand, 11 people have now tested positive for the virus which has killed more than 7000 people world-wide, with 181,944 cases.
The scams can come in the form of emails, website pop-ups or ads whereupon clicking a link you are taken to a site that looks like Facebook, or any other site, and asked to log in.
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Online safety agency Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker said a scam would surge in Australia “and then the next day it will arrive in New Zealand”.
“There are a number of scams at the moment where people are asked to input passwords.”
People could expect more scams over the Covid-19 outbreak.
“This is a huge event and it opens up a lot of opportunity for scammers,” he said.
“People are going to be working from home and more reliant on technology. There are a lot of apps that purport to provide you with information…but are malware apps that lock your computer.
“At the end of this pandemic there will be thousands of scams about Covid-19.Yhere is no ethical line they will not cross.”
The launch of new apps and services meant it was harder to spot fakes.
But the advice was to only use legitimate app stores and to not open links in emails.
“Use due diligence and just be cautious,” he said.
State cyber security agency Cert NZ was aware of international reports of cyber criminals using the pandemic as an opportunity to carry out online scams and malicious cyber activity, director Rob Pope said.
“This includes opportunistic attempts to use the heightened public attention on the Covid-19 pandemic to trick people to download malware or enter their details into phishing websites.”
But it had not received any reports of this affecting New Zealanders yet.
His advice included being cautious of emails claiming to have new information about Covid-19, particularly if they require you to download an attachment or enter your personal details to access the information.