In the modern age of smartphones and the internet, getting scammed is easier than ever before. From robot calls to bogus ads on a webpage, these scammers are after your personal information and your money. They might pretend to be a far off relative, an old high school classmate, your insurance company, a bank, or even the government, but don’t be fooled!
And now with a worldwide pandemic on our hands, these thieves have found ways to prey upon people in need because of the coronavirus. According to the Bureau of Consumer Protection, in the last 5 months there have been more than 18,000 coronavirus related scam reports which have cost Americans upwards of $13million.
What kinds of scams should I be on the lookout for?
1. Blood or saliva from a “coronavirus survivor”
- Some people may feel so desperate to try and develop some kind of immunity to this virus that they turn to the dark web to get the DNA of someone who already has the antibodies
- This is always a scam, you will NEVER get those products; even if you did, it would be near impossible to figure out if it was a legitimate specimen
2. “Expedited” stimulus checks
- Many Americans are hurting for cash right now and need their government stimulus checks very badly
- You could get emails or phone calls from legitimate sounding people claiming that they can get you that money faster, or even get you more
- These are NEVER real! The IRS has a place for you to check the status of your stimulus money, and if you get “payment status not available” then that is most likely because you didn’t file taxes in 2018 or 2019
3. CoViD-19 “Miracle Cures”
- Selling miracle cures for illnesses is nothing new, but it’s here in incredible numbers thanks to the coronavirus
- These emails or web ads may tell you that “Big Pharma” is suppressing a vaccine for profits or that there is some secret herbal remedy that can lessen CoViD-19 symptoms
- 100% FAKE! Unless any health updates or information comes directly from the CDC, you should always assume that someone/something could be trying to profit off of lying to you
4. Tech support
- Many people have been/are/will keep working from home, and the transition from office to home office are bound to create technical issues, so they’ll be dialing up their tech support people frequently
- TIP: Never Google a tech support number! Scammers are hoping that you’ll do that and fall into their trap
- Go to the tech support company’s official website and find their “Contact Us” page; only get your information from a direct source!
5. Coronavirus tests sold online
- You may have heard that the FDA recently approved an at-home coronavirus test that is safe and accurate
- These tests cannot be obtained online!
- If you see advertisements saying that you can purchase these at-home tests from a website; you CAN’T! You can get them with a doctor’s recommendation only at this time
6. Fake small business loans
- Scammers know that small business owners are struggling right now and want to get access to the Payroll Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program
- If you see anything saying that you can pay a bit to get your loans faster, it’s not real!
- If you put your personal information into any site other than the SBA site trying to get your small business aid, then that’s a SCAM!
What to look for to avoid getting scammed
- Never respond to emails, texts, or calls about checks from the government
- Ignore any kind email, call, or online ad about a CoViD-19 vaccination; there is no vaccine for the virus at this time
- Be very skeptical of any online offers for at-home test kits; they were only just approved and can only be obtained with a doctor’s recommendation
- Just hang up on any robot call, nothing beneficial comes from them
- If any legitimate agency needs to get in touch with you, it will not be with a robot
- Watch out for any contact from the WHO or CDC
- Make sure it’s from the ACTUAL real sources
- You’ll want to look for web addresses like coronavirus.gov or usa.gov/coronavirus
- Always double and triple check before considering donating to a coronavirus charity; make sure it’s a legitimate charity!
Now is the time to protect yourself and your family from the people who want to take advantage of you. It’s times like this where we really need to thank God that there are more good people than bad in the world.