Beware of Criminals Pretending to be WHO (World Health Organisation)

Beware of Criminals Pretending to be WHO (World Health Organisation):

Formed in 1948 by the United Nations and today working across 150 Countries worldwide, the World Health Organisation (WHO) works worldwide to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable. The goal of the WHO is to ensure that people have universal health coverage, to protect from health emergencies, and provide people with better health and well-being. Through their work the WHO address:- disease prevention, mental health promotion, climate change in small island developing states, antimicrobial resistance and the elimination and eradication of high-impact communicable diseases.

Criminal elements, says the UN health agency, are posing as ‘WHO’ representatives, and recommends that, if anyone is contacted by a person or organization claiming to be from the Organization, they should take steps to verify their authenticity. During this time of great concern as Coronavirus spreads, threatening a worldwide pandemic the WHO have issued a warning and have asked organisations to pass this message on.

Criminals are disguising themselves as WHO to steal money or sensitive information.  If anyone is contacted by a person or organisation that appears to be from WHO, verify their authenticity before responding to any communications which may be a ‘scam’.

The World Health Organisation will:

  • never ask you to login to view safety information
  • never email attachments you didn’t ask for
  • never ask you to visit a link outside of
  • never charge money to apply for a job, register for a conference, or reserve a hotel
  • never conduct lotteries or offer prizes, grants, certificates or funding through email
  • never ask you to donate directly to emergency response plans or funding appeals.

Be aware that criminals use email, websites, phone calls, text messages, and even fax messages for their scams.

You can verify if communications are legitimate by contacting WHO directly and reporting any scams (see below).

Phishing: malicious emails appearing to be from WHO

WHO is aware of suspicious email messages attempting to take advantage of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus emergency. This fraudulent action is called phishing.

These ‘phishing’ emails appear to be from WHO, and will ask you to:

  • give sensitive information, such as usernames or passwords
  • click a malicious link
  • open a malicious attachment.

Using this method, criminals can install malware or steal sensitive information.

How to prevent phishing:

  1. Verify the sender by checking their email address.  Make sure the sender has an email address such as ‘’ If there is anything other than ‘’ after the ‘@’ symbol, this sender is not from WHO.WHO does not send emails from addresses ending in ‘’ , ‘’ or ‘’ for example.
  2. Check the link before you click.  Make sure the link starts with ‘’.  Better still, navigate to the WHO website directly, by typing ‘’ into your browser.
  3. Be careful when providing personal information. Always consider why someone wants your information and if it is appropriate. There is no reason someone would need your username & password to access public information.
  4. Do not rush or feel under pressure. Cybercriminals use emergencies such as 2019-nCov to get people to make decisions quickly. Always take time to think about a request for your personal information, and whether the request is appropriate.
  5. If you gave sensitive information, don’t panic.  If you believe you have given data such as your username or passwords to cybercriminals, immediately change your credentials on each site where you have used them.
  6. If you see a scam, report it.  

Reporting a Scam to the WHO can be done via this link:-

WHO Website:

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

20LTB103 Beware of Criminals Pretending to be WHO (World Health Organisation)

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