The Coronavirus pandemic has had a very sudden, worldwide effect: Many countries have imposed restrictions, curfews and patrols to ensure that contact between people are minimized - and that the rate of infection stays as low as possible.
It has affected the life, work and family life of thousands: From where we're standing now, it appears as though there isn't a single industry unaffected by the measures that have been taken to counter potential COVID-19 infections.
The internet is no different.
With people advised to self-isolate, elements such as online commerce has boomed - although unfortunately, so have certain types of scams and fake news.
The need for essentials and luxuries hasn't stopped during the virus pandemic - but the way people have access to these items has changed. Instead of going to the stores, most people have switched to buying online: E-commerce has received a boost - especially e-commerce companies are still able to get their deliveries to customers during this time
With many people being shut in as a result of self-isolation or restriction, scammers have spotted an unfortunate gap in the market where people are at home and still in need of work. This means that the rate of work-from-home scams has increased - and in the time of COVID-19, it's especially important to remember that not every job offer out there is legitimate.
Restrictions has meant that many people panic bought what was available on the shelves; for some items, it has also meant that deliveries have been getting to some stores later than they were supposed to - and some items are simply not for sale (such as alcohol and tobacco products for the period of 21-days).
This has led to an increase in black market sales - and generally, people moving vast shipments of available items illegally (or hiking prices on what they have available).
There's also been an almost worldwide change in how law enforcement can respond to this, with hotlines set up to make reporting illegal price-hiking or black-market items easier.
Almost any disaster or emergency sees a sudden hike in the fake news (and fake e-mail chains or messages) that might accompany false or inaccurate information: The international COVID-19 crisis is no different - and it should show the importance of providing accurate information during such a time.
Don't believe everything you read, don't share everything you see - and always realize that fake news getting around has the potential to do a lot of damage, just like the so-called "Butterfly effect."
During the beginnings of the COVID-19 crisis, there was an almost immediate increase in the amount of spam - some related to the Coronavirus, but much not. Why? Administrative teams and programmers everywhere were short-staffed - and thanks to this, moderator AI went haywire in the absence of human admins to see what they were doing.
There's also been an admirable attempt from many governments, NGOs, news organizations and influencers to counter the fake news out there by putting out real, accurate information to the people who need it most.
A couple of radical groups reacted to the COVID-19 crisis by using it as an unfortunate attempt to recruit members, alleging that they were more prepared for the eventuality of a shutdown than everyone else - and with this, many went online, leading to an increase in the amount of available conspiracy theories that often accompany fake news stories.
Work and life have been forced to go online for many people who are caught in self-isolation or restriction and still have the need to work and connect with their loved ones and acquaintances.
There's an increase in online, remote meetings for work - and an increase in remote connections like Skype that can bring people together even where they happen to be miles away.
Shut-ins and self-isolation means that people have more of a need for distraction as time progresses: There's an increase in streaming music, shows and movies - now, people certainly have the time, and it's a worthy distraction from the panic everywhere else.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought along a sudden change in SEO and online content: It moved to websites, companies and all sorts of professionals suddenly in need of content to cover the COVID-19 pandemic and their reaction to it.
Prepared professionals able to keep up with changing information regarding the pandemic were the ones who did best - and it shows the importance of being prepared when it comes to your career, too.
A lack of essential staff and the rush of people connecting to the internet to find the latest news about the Coronavirus has led to an increase in difficulty connecting, with thousands of people all over the world reporting that they have temporary trouble getting online or up to regular internet speeds.
Businesses able to adapt to the international Coronavirus pandemic have, naturally, done better than those who weren't: Many businesses have so far come up with unique offers that help those who might be affected by the Coronavirus - and if consumers know where to look, taking advantage of these offers can put them in a better position.
Counterfeiting scams appear to be on the way up during the Coronavirus period, especially due to the fact that the demand for items like sanitiser and masks are very high: Always make sure that you order through a reputable supplier who guarantees authentic products - and report anyone who is providing products that aren't what they claim to be.
Sex sells, and it turns out that many professional sex workers have been forced to take their business online while physical contact between people are not advised. This might also have led to an increase in potential catfishing scams: Absence should never make the heart grow reckless. If you are not sure what catfishing you can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catfishing.
This is a contributor’s article from Alex J. Coyne.