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Yes, as if we don’t all have enough to worry about, scammers are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released two scam alerts warning people about some of the coronavirus scams. COVID-19 scams to date have included fake coronavirus cures and various attempts to play on people’s fears to extract money from them.
To help you stay one step ahead of the scammers, here are some of the coronavirus scams in circulation and some tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of a COVID-19 scam.
There have been lots of fake cures and fake preventative products advertised online. Often, sellers are merely modifying their claims for existing products that have no proven coronavirus prevention benefits at all.
The scale of fake COVOD-19 advertising is enormous. It has been reported that Amazon removed more than 1 million fraudulently advertised products from its store.
The truth is that there is no known cure to coronavirus COVID-19. So, no herbal remedy, vitamin supplement, or any other type of miracle cure is going to protect you from the disease.
Scientists around the world are working to find a vaccine and to learn more about the virus. So, wait until you get official advice before you waste your money on a fake COVID-19 cure.
Emails have been sent out to some people offering the “investment opportunity of a lifetime.” The investments are in businesses that are about to make a breakthrough in the fight against coronavirus. The emails stress that you must send your money now, or you will miss out.
Use your judgment and ask yourself if any investment opportunity looks too good to be true. We all hope that someone does make a coronavirus breakthrough soon. But, if a company is about to produce a COVID-19 vaccine, would they be coming to you for their funding?
At a time of a national emergency, people want to do whatever they can to help. Scammers play on our wish to help others by posing as fake charities. Often the charities will have believable sounding names, or the name will be similar to a genuine charity.
The number of fake coronavirus charity scams has already surpassed the number of Hurricane Florence fake charities tenfold. And, the number of fake charity scams is increasing fast.
Research any charity before you donate unless you are 100% sure that you know the organization. If you are giving money online, check the URL of the website to make sure that the site is not a fake website.
Phishing Emails and Texts
Phishing emails requesting personal details such as your social security number and bank account details are being sent in various formats. There are also emails being sent out to get you unintentionally download ransomware onto your computer.
Some of these phishing emails claim to be coming from the World Health Organization (WHO), and some claim to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some scam emails have also been sent out asking people to register their bank details so that they can receive coronavirus relief payments.
Be wary about clicking on any links in emails from unknown sources. And, remember, the government will never ask you for information like your social security number in an email or text. And, the government will never ask for payment of upfront fees or charges of any kind.
Scammers are also using illegal robocalls to take advantage of the coronavirus situation. Automated calls are being used to sell fake coronavirus cures, vaccines, and protective equipment.
If you receive a robocall, don’t press any buttons on your phone, hang up. Interacting with a robocall could lead to you receiving many more automated calls from scammers.
Fake Work from Home Opportunities
With so many people quarantined at home, scammers are also targeting people who are self-isolating with fake work from home opportunities.
If you get offers of jobs working from home, research the company online before you take up the opportunity. Don’t pay upfront fees for interviews, or for registering with a business for work. Legitimate companies do not expect you to pay to work for them.
The above are merely some of the coronavirus scams that have been identified. Other COVID-19 scams have included fake coronavirus alert apps that download ransomware. And there have been phony pre-registration schemes for a coronavirus vaccine.
Criminals are always looking for new ways to scam people. Sadly, more and more coronavirus related scams are coming to light. For more detailed information on COVID-19 scams, read this in-depth article by Aimee O’Driscoll at comparitech.com.
The best advice is to be on your guard and be wary. Fact-check everything and double-check all websites and all emails that ask you for money or personal details like your social security number or bank account information. You will find more information to help you avoid coronavirus scammers here, on the official Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website.
We hope that you have found this post about coronavirus scams helpful. As always, the best defense against scammers is to be aware of the scams and be on your guard. If you did find the post useful, please do share it with your friends on social media.
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