For scammers, all means are good for making money. Even if it means playing with fears and enjoying a certain psychosis. Since the end of January and the first confirmed cases of coronavirus in France, the online reporting platform Pharos has thus collected “more than 80 reports,” said the divisional commissioner François-Xavier Masson, director of director of the Central Office for combating crime linked to information and communication technologies (OCLCTIC). This is not a significant figure, but 20 reports were of online scams. “
In recent weeks, the police have thus seen the blossoming on the Internet of numerous sites claiming to sell products and accessories capable of fighting against the spread of the virus: masks, hydroalcoholic gels, etc. Sites which are sometimes “simple scams, with masks which do not ‘were just a sheet of paper held in place by two rubber bands, explains Commissioner Masson. Do not go looking for miracle products anywhere and it is advisable to inquire from pharmacies if in doubt. “
In case of concern, the police ask users who are victims of a scam to report the sites on the Pharos reporting platform.
More vicious, hackers have created fake sites or applications that surf on the fear of the coronavirus. The site coronavirusmap.com, which supposedly offers an interactive evolution of the pandemic on a global level thus hides a “malware which can infect your computer and steal all the data in order to then resell them to hackers”, underlines François-Xavier Masson .
Favor traditional news sites or government sites
Cyber investigators also detected malicious mobile phone applications that were actually used to steal data from the smartphone. “To learn about the coronavirus, people must favor traditional information sites or government sites,” says the boss of OCLCTIC.
In addition, even if the phenomenon remains “generally circumscribed in Paris”, the police have been informed, since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis of theft of masks or hydroalcoholic gels in hospitals. Products sometimes sold at high prices on the Internet. “This is not a major phenomenon, tempers a police source. But people have to show civility and avoid buying these products at outrageous prices because it encourages theft… ”