Beware of COVID-19 Scams
Mar 31, 2020 03:40PM
By Amber McKenzie
A worldwide emergency, such as the one we are all experiencing now, can create positive impacts on communities, including a sense of shared experience, connection and a willingness to help neighbors and those on the front lines of the pandemic.
Unfortunately, it can also create opportunities for those with less altruistic motives to defraud and scam others while preying on vulnerable populations who lack understanding about technology and the internet.
Scams can take several forms and it is important to stay vigilant to the following fraudulent scenarios:
- A knock at the door or phone call from someone offering services or claiming to represent organizations like the Red Cross or World Health Organization (WHO).
- A phone call that claims to be someone in government or an insurance company collecting information to process your “stimulus check.”
- A call or text message falsely advertising a cure or an offer to be tested for coronavirus.
- An email or social media message seeking your personal or financial information which includes an official looking link to a fraudulent website.
The Federal Communications Commission is tracking scams related to COVID-19 and advises the following:
- Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers. Scammers often utilize local phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding.
- Never share your personal or financial information via email, text message or over the phone.
- Be cautious and hang up if you are being pressured to share personal information or make a payment immediately. Remember, government agencies never call to ask for personal information or money.
- Do not click any links in a text, social media or email message that appear suspicious.
- Always investigate and communicate directly with a charity or nonprofit before donating.
finally, trust your gut instinct. If something feels off, it most likely is.