Watch Out for These COVID-19 Scams

Scammers are opportunistic and creative. They adapt quickly to changing circumstances. Therefore, it is no surprise that they are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic. According to FraudWatch International, there were more than 18 million monitored COVID-19 scams at the end of April 2020. Vigilance is the only answer.

Here is a quick run-down of some of the identified COVID-19 scams currently operating around the country.

Work from Home Scams

Phishing emails are not new, but the coronavirus has provided a new cover for scammers. You might receive an email with a vague offer about a work from home opportunity. Or, the email could claim to be from an international financial institution offering part-time work that you can do from home. It will feel legitimate at first, as they send you small, easily accomplished tasks. Ultimately, they will ask you to move stolen money through accounts.

Expediting Your Stimulus Check

You might get a phone call or email from an authentic looking agency offering to expedite your stimulus check. The process has been a slow one and you are eager to get the funds so you might be tempted to take them up on the offer. You just need to give them your bank account details and social security number. This has become one of the more successful COVID-19 scams.

Fake Text Messages from Government Agencies

Taking advantage of government loan, debt relief and grant programs, scammers are sending out text messages and phishing emails in the name of government agencies such as the Social Security Administration or IRS. They might say that you have been approved for a small business loan or government grant because of the coronavirus. If you respond to the message, they will ask for personal identification. Remember, a legitimate government agency already has your personal identification.

Donation Scams

The goal of these COVID-19 scams is, once again, to steal your money. Scammers are taking advantage of the uptick in crowdsourcing right now to set up fake charities. Before making a charitable donation, look them up on GuideStar or another database of charitable organizations.

Medicare COVID-19 Scams

These scammers are working the telephone. They call you to offer a special coronavirus relief package or Medicare benefits to help you deal with COVID-19. Then they ask you to please verify certain personal information, so they know where to send the money. This is how you know it is a scam.

Vaccinations

These scammers are working the telephone. They call you to offer a special coronavirus relief package or Medicare benefits to help you deal with COVID-19. Then they ask you to please verify certain personal information, so they know where to send the money. This is how you know it is a scam.

Special Netflix COVID-19 Offers

Scammers know that streaming services such as Netflix have increased in popularity during this pandemic. You might see online offers that say that Netflix is offering 3 months of its Premium membership for free because of COVID-19. You only need to click on the link in the advertisement, which looks legitimate at first glance. Click on the link and you open yourself up to a malware or phishing attack.

Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Scams

Beware of all unsolicited offers and online ads that are related to COVID-19. This is especially true of offers that you receive by email and text messages. Even if it looks legitimate, do not click on the link, or open the attachments.

If you need to provide personal identification or financial details, you know it is a scam.

Offers that come with a tight deadline, such as “for 48 hours only” or “ending soon” should be avoided. These messages are intended to heighten your anxiety, robbing you of the ability to think rationally.

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