Scammers are hard at work and are using the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to exploit Seniors out of their hard earned money. They are attempting to capitalize on the concerns and fears of Seniors during this pandemic with an endless variety of frauds and scams.
So how can we stop these scammers in their tracks?
It has been said that knowledge is power and the best defense against becoming a victim to fraud and scams. Let’s all take a moment to educate ourselves, our family and our community about these threats to our financial security as well as our peace of mind.
According to Attorney General Josh Stein these are the current Coronavirus Scams to Avoid:
- Beware of fraudulent miracle care products claiming a cure
There have been numerous companies promoting products that have the ability to prevent or treat the coronavirus. Remember that currently there is no approved vaccines, drugs or products available to cure/prevent the coronavirus. Please report suspected scams to the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 866.720.5721.
- Beware of Robocalls/Spam calls
Currently there are numerous calls from scammers offering cure-all products or solutions to the coronavirus, or pretending to be from your insurance company or a government official. Do not fall victim to these calls. Example: Currently there is a robocall going around that sounds something like this: If you want to receive a free testing kit delivered overnight to your home, press 1. If you get a call like this, Hang Up! Or it may say to opt out of this call, press 1. Once again, Hang Up! Do Not engage in these calls.
- Beware of fraudulent charities
Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card or by wiring money, Do Not Do It!! Unfortunately, scammers are good at targeting individuals of goodwill to “donate” to a worthy cause. If you want to donate to efforts to support individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic, give to a charity that you are familiar with or do your research. The Better Business Bureau is one resource equipped to provide information about status of charitable organizations
- Beware of phishing attempts
Phishing is used to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, password, social security number, and credit card details by posing as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. These phishing emails and text messages often trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. They may say that they have noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts; claim that there is a problem with your account or your payment information; claim that they need to update/confirm your personal information, etc. Remember do not give your personal or financial information over email, text or the phone.
Tips to help stop scammers in their tracks:
- Be suspicious – If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is
- Never give your personal or financial information over email, text or the phone
- Keep your account numbers, codes and passwords private
- Do not pay someone just because they call or send an email demanding money, especially those who say testing for the virus is mandatory
- Do not give into high-pressure solicitations that demand that you make an instant commitment
- Beware of generic greetings in emails and text messages
- Shred bills, junk mail, and receipts when discarding them
- Don’t be afraid to report if you think you have been a victim of fraud
Remember knowledge is POWER and the best defense against becoming a victim to fraud and scams.