It is disappointing but not surprising to learn that a whole new crop of scams are being unleashed on an unsuspecting and vulnerable public. As criminals develop schemes to take advantage of people’s fears, it is important to share warnings with the people in our lives who may be most at risk for attack. Older friends and family members who are feeling the most susceptible to the virus may also be the ones who will be most susceptible to COVID-19 scams.
Consumer.ftc.gov has reliable information on this topic. Here is a quick summary of the latest tips:
- If you get a robocall, just hang up. Illegal robocalls are being used to offer everything from scam virus treatments to work-at-home schemes. If the message includes an option to press a number to opt out of future calls, do not do it. Just hang up.
- Do not fall for offers for vaccinations or home test kits. There are currently no vaccines or other products that are approved or available to treat COVID 19. Do not purchase any tests or treatments for COVID 19 online or in a store.
- Do not fall for or spread misinformation. There are currently a lot of hoax messages circulating on the virus and what the government is doing. Before you click the share button or forward any messages about COVID 19 details, fact check the information with a reputable source.
- Do not buy supplies unless you are sure of the source. Con artists are posing as legitimate online sellers claiming to have in-demand household, health, or medical supplies. Do not fall for these types of scams.
- Do not respond to texts, emails, or phone messages about checks. Anyone who claims to have information about checks is a scammer. Details on the issuance of any relief checks are still in the works.
- Do not click on any links from sources you do not know. This is a good rule of thumb any time, but especially now with cyber criminals looking for ways to prey on a vulnerable public in a time of crisis.
- Do not donate money to any charities or donation websites without making sure they are legitimate. Do research on any organization or individual that is asking for donations to avoid charity scams.
Scammers are ready to take advantage of anxious people who just want information, and goodhearted people who want to help the community. Please warn the people you know and help everyone fight this kind of crime.