As the coronavirus has changed and evolved how most people go about their day-to-day business, so has it evolved how scammers are going about their ‘business’ of actively working to steal your personal and financial information. Unfortunately, many different coronavirus scams are going on right now. These are some of the more common scams being reported at the moment.
Types of Coronavirus Scams
- Scams promising false cures. Many scams relate to "miracle" cures for coronavirus or offer the promise of products people order that never come. They often come in the form of teas, essential oils, and CBD products that offer no real medicinal value when it comes to coronavirus. They give people a false sense of security. Some are even offering fraudulent antibody tests to get health insurance information, which is then used for identity theft.
- Stimulus checks scams. As people await the arrival of a government stimulus payment, scams rage on, including everything from stimulus check promises to unemployment benefits and more. Other financial scams involve student loan payments, stock scams, credit card fraud, and more.
- Robocall and text messaging scams. These include attempts to get targets to part with valuable personally-identifiable information. Such scams are primarily focused on those under financial stress or health concerns.
- Contact tracing scams. We all know that contract tracing is an invaluable way to trace infected clusters and determine the origins of coronavirus cases. However, scammers use the guise of contact tracing to steal insurance information, bank account information, Social Security numbers, and more.
Be suspicious if you are called for any of these potential issues. If you feel uneasy about the person calling you, hang up and look up the company or their customer service number online. You can call their corporate line to verify if you received a call from them asking for details.
Signs of Being Scammed
The number one sign you are being scammed is an email, text message, or phone call that appears off or suspicious. Recognizing these queues can help you identify if someone is attempting to scam you.
You will need to do a little research before offering up your insurance, personal, or financial information if you see things like:
- Callers are more interested in your health insurance information than the status of your health.
- Scammers require upfront payment before providing information about things like stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, etc.
- Non-legitimate charities are pressuring you into providing donations right away.
- Fraudsters contact you through an email, phone call, or text message claiming to be from the government.
- Swindlers claiming to be contact tracers ask for any personal, financial, or insurance information. They should only ask about health information.
These signs are not always indicators that you are being scammed, but they should place you on guard.
Avoiding Coronavirus Scams
The best way to avoid coronavirus scams is to think critically when you get phone calls, emails, text messages, or door-to-door visits. These other steps can help, as well.
- Ignore offers for cures, vaccines, and test kits.
- Hang up on robocalls or consider screening all calls from unfamiliar numbers.
- Donate only to organizations you know and trust and then only through official channels.
- Do not even respond to text messages, emails, and phone calls claiming to have information about stimulus checks – even if they appear official.
The coronavirus has changed how some scammers may be trying to steal your information. Be cautious of messages from unidentified senders, examine links for legitimacy, and look for authenticity of the senders email addresses. If you have become aware of a potential scam, it is wise to notify the authorities.