The coronavirus situation is leaving many people with questions regarding their finances. Fraudsters know this and are actively reaching out to people in order to prey on their anxieties. We have become aware of various scams that are circulating concerning government relief payments. Don’t let these fraudsters take advantage of you.
Protect yourself and your loved ones by following these simple guidelines.
- Don’t feel pressured to act fast if you receive a phone call, email, or text message – no matter who they claim to be or how much they pressure you.
- Don’t provide any of your identifying information or account information – no matter who calls, emails, or texts you.
- Be cautious of emails or text messages. Don’t click links as they may contain viruses. Don’t give out codes received in emails or texts, as this is part of the scam.
- Use your mobile app or go directly to online banking to view your account.
- Call your local banker to verify any request or talk to a family member or friend before acting.
Examples of COVID-19 scams:
Treatment scams: Scammers are offering to sell fake cures, vaccines, and advice on unproven treatments for COVID-19
Supply scams: Scammers are creating fake shops, websites, social media accounts, and email addresses claiming to sell medical supplies currently in high demand, such as surgical masks. When consumers attempt to purchase supplies through these channels, fraudsters pocket the money and never provide the promised supplies.
Provider scams: Scammers are also contacting people by phone and email, pretending to be doctors and hospitals that have treated a friend or relative for COVID-19, and demanding payment for that treatment.
Charity scams: Scammers are soliciting donations for individuals, groups, and areas affected by COVID-19.
Phishing scams: Scammers posing as national and global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are sending phishing emails designed to trick recipients into downloading malware or providing personal identifying and financial information.
App scams: Scammers are also creating and manipulating mobile apps designed to track the spread of COVID-19 to insert malware that will compromise users’ devices and personal information.
Investment scams: Scammers are offering online promotions on various platforms, including social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19, and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result. These promotions are often styled as “research reports,” make predictions of a specific “target price,” and relate to microcap stocks, or low-priced stocks issued by the smallest of companies with limited publicly available information.
List pulled from Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force