The Cook Islands Financial Intelligence Unit is warning the community to be aware of an increase in online Covid-19 scams.
Many of these scams are sophisticated and might seem legitimate, but people and businesses need to be vigilant and make sure their IT security systems are in place.
Phishing emails including links to Covid-19 statistics or information and fake Ministry of Health alerts and advice are making the rounds in social media forums.
In the Cook Islands the legitimate sources of information can be found at: covid19.gov.ck
There has also been an increase in workplace policy emails circulating, relating to new disease policies being put in place and emails from scammers purporting to be a relative or friend needing financial assistance with emergency travel costs, supplies or medical bills.
Be wary of fake advertisements or products that claim to offer treatment or protective equipment or cures for coronavirus, especially those that try to create a sense of urgency with messages like “Buy now – limited supply”.
Clicking on such ads may result in downloading malware onto your device.
Never send your credit card details for payment unless you’re certain the company is reputable.
Cook Islands Police Service spokesperson Trevor Pitt said it's become widely publicised around the net that scammers are using the Covid-19 spread as a tool.
Facebook Messenger is also carrying a lot of the fake information.
“The best advice is to consider only trusted sources for health information and to be wary of any links being forwarded to you that are unsolicited,” he said.
“It's pretty much the standard message - just don't be lulled into complacency and drawn to strange or unusual news and other links.”