Fraudsters and scammers thrive when feeding off of victim’s fear or in times of need. As we know, the coronavirus pandemic has done just that. People are becoming more desperate and fearing for their future, their financial state, the plans they made & sadly, fraudsters are thriving by presenting victims with “opportunities” that require personal information or payments and then take your money and run.
Types of scams seen during the coronavirus pandemic:
Phony job listings
Fraudsters will post fake job listings posting as company stating that you will make X amount of dollar from your home. Because of the new definition of normal, people often fall into these scams hoping to pick up some extra cash. To ensure the position and company you are looking into is legitimate, research the hiring company name only. Fraudsters will often add words like “company” or “Inc.” to the end of a website to make it look more realistic. Always do your own research before getting involved with an employment opportunity that sounds way too good to be true (because it probably is).
Misinformation & rumors / fake websites & phishing emails
Never answer emails or click on links that you are not expecting or appear to be suspicious. For example, emails that include things like “Quick get this deal while you can” or “important click here”, fraudster use wording like this to create a sense of urgency to their victims.
To check the following sites for legitimate facts and updates regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Check, loan, & economic impact payment scams
Watch out for fraudsters that are asking you to make a payment so you can get your economic impact checks faster. Do not respond to any phone calls, emails, or messages about the economic impact payments from the government. Never give out any personal information such as your social security number to anyone over the phone. Keep in mind that the government, more often than not, will contact you via official letters.
Donation/ charity scams
Fraudsters will set up fake charity organizations looking for donations to help stop the spread of COVID-19, help for those who have lost employment, or those sick and in need. Never donate to causes that you are unfamiliar with, always do your research about the charity and the organization.
Now, we understand that there are exact offers going around that are legitimate offers and from legitimate companies. To hopefully help clear up some confusion, read these tips on how to recognize what is real and what is fake.
- If anyone contacts you and asks for your Social Security Number, bank account number, credit card information, driver’s license number, or any other personal information – DO NOT share this type of information over the phone, through text messaging, or email.
- Never click on unusual links, emails from company’s you weren’t expecting, answering phone calls from unknown numbers, and be cautious when browsing the internet.
- Ignore online offers and be suspicious of donation requests especially those that ask for cash, wire transfers, or gift cars.
NOTE: If you do fall victim to a scam IMMEDIATELY report the issue and change your passwords to avoid further damage to your accounts.