Throughout the course of the global pandemic, we’ve seen ample trends surface. From baking bread to taking up a new hobby, we’ve all been trying to keep ourselves busy while being at home. Unfortunately, though, there are always people out there who try to take advantage of others when they are most vulnerable.
The Federal Trades Commission (FTC) has received 17,000 complaints from Americans who reported total losses of US$13 million dollars in relation to Covid-19 scams.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the recent scams and we’ll tell you how to protect yourself.
Covid-19 Test Kits and Vaccinations
Understandably, this pandemic has sparked a lot of fear and uncertainty because of how little we know about this virus. One scamming trend involves people selling fake vaccinations and test kits that aren’t approved by the FTC. Additionally, there are other scammers claiming their products treat Covid-19. As a word of caution, don’t purchase any test kits, products, or “vaccines” that aren’t approved by the FTC.
With a global event such as this, there are people who want to help where they can. Scammers try to take advantage of generosity by creating fake charities, designed to swindle you out of your money. Always do your research on a charity before donating.
Phishing scams are a scammer’s attempt to coerce a person into giving out their personal information by clicking on a malicious link or email. Often, it will be a scammer posing as a business or service. Recently, it’s been scammers posing as public health agencies, like the World Health Organization or the Center For Disease Control and Prevention. These scams often involve a text or email saying that the person has been exposed to someone with Covid-19 and will ask them for personal information. Some will have a document attached to the email that the user is expected to fill out, which will infect the computer with viruses and malicious software.
Public health officials will never email you to ask for personal information, so disregard and delete any emails you receive from scammers claiming to be them.
Government Relief Scams
This pandemic has been difficult for many of us financially. Some of us have been laid off, face reduced hours, or have lost our jobs completely. As such, many have turned to the government for financial assistance.
Fraudsters take advantage of this by posing as government officials or third-party companies and will send fake applications for government assistance in the mail. They hope this will encourage the person to fill out the form with personal identifying information, like your social insurance, birthday, or credit card information. Fraudsters will often reach out through text, phone calls, or emails that will offer the false promise of assistance in exchange for your personal information. Never click on any suspicious links or give out personal or financial information.
There are also scams out there that will target social security benefits, where you may receive a call that your benefits have been decreased or suspended and will ask for payment to resume the benefits. The best way to determine the status of your account is to contact the Social Security Agency directly.
Protecting Your Personal Information is Key
Protecting your personal information is important. Never throw out any documentation with your name, address, social security, or banking information. If you receive any calls, texts, or emails that appear suspicious, you can report them.
One of the best ways to protect yourself against fraud and scams is to protect your personal information through physical document destruction.
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