COVID_19 Scammers

The secure COVID-19 testing kit website can be found at covidtests.gov and can be confirmed with the official government website message located at the top left corner of the screen. Here, anyone can order testing kits for free through the United States Postal Service. 

With COVID-19 cases rising quickly again in Kansas, it is now more important than ever to be able to get tested quickly and accurately. Fortunately, at-home testing kits are now free to the public. According to In January, the Federal Government purchased 1 billion at-home test kits that can be ordered and shipped for free to anyone needing them.

However, these tests have now come with a different cost. One that could drastically affect those who aren’t cautious of who they are ordering from.

On Jan. 19, Emporia State’s information technology department sent out a warning email informing students and staff of cybercriminals that have created websites in order to trick unsuspecting buyers into releasing personal information. Luckily for ESU, director of information security Gary Dodson is helping to prevent these crimes.

“Scammers like chaotic conditions,” Dodson said. “The very day that those kits became available, we were alerted to probably a dozen fake websites that had popped up with names that were similar”.

With Americans rushing to get their tests ordered, many failed to remember that the Biden Administration created these test kits to be free of cost which includes shipping and handling. Anyone ordering these tests should not have to put any credit card information into the website.

“It’s times like these that they have the best access to people who are trying to find information or trying to access some service,” Dodson said. “If they are quick and get ahead of the game, they can fool a number of people into doing something that they want rather than finding the service that the individual is looking for.”

In the case of someone who has already been a victim of these cyberattacks, there may be little options to fix the problem. According to Dodson, if students or faculty use their credit card information, this cannot be undone. The only way to stop the crime would be to contact that person's bank and have the credit card destroyed and then have the bank issue a new one.

The other way to help resolve the issue is if one was asked to create an account that included a password, then this password would need to be changed in any other place it was used.

While this issue is the most recent one detected, it is not the first time that scammers have emerged and it won't be the last. Because of this, it is important that people remain cautious of who they are giving their information out to.

ESU’s Information Technology Department is currently working to help individuals recognize suspicious activity online. They are in the process of starting a security awareness training for faculty and staff members on campus. This training is not yet available to students due to a licensing issue, but is being considered for the future.

For more information on how to avoid cybercriminals, the IT department can be contacted through email at helpdesk@emporia.edu

For those still in need of getting at-home testing kits, they can be found at covidtests.gov which is a secure website that will go straight to the United States Postal Service with no card information or passwords required. And if you still are feeling skeptical, just look for the official government website message at the top left corner of the screen.

 

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