The Most Common Coronavirus Scams to Watch Out For
As anyone who has survived a natural or man-made disaster knows, scams and swindles are quick to follow. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is no exception. Scammers are out in force to exploit the confusion and chaos the pandemic has caused, all in the hopes of making a dollar.
During an unprecedented time such as this, it’s best to only trust reliable news and information sources and to remember the motto of: Trust, but verify. With this in mind, The Advocates have compiled a list of the Top 5 Coronavirus Scams you should be on the lookout for:
Coronavirus Scam #1: Stimulus Check Fishers and Fraudsters
With the recent Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) going into effect, Coronavirus scammers have been working overtime to grift their way to an unearned $1,200 payday. Several have accomplished this by deploying sophisticated phishing emails, texts, fake phone calls, and all sorts of underhanded schemes. In nearby Oklahoma, some have even gone so far as to fraudulently file false tax returns in the names of hapless victims. Be sure to only trust verified government sites to claim your return and if you come across something fishy, be sure to contact the Internal Revenue Service immediately for assistance. Nobody wants an unfair audit during a quarantine.
Coronavirus Scam #2: Bogus Covid Cures and Remedies
As of this blog’s publication, May of 2020, there is no known cure for Covid-19. Again, there is no cure, no medication, remedy, antidote, or magical elixir to keep you and your family safe from the Coronavirus. Despite what you may hear on some opinion TV news programs or on your favorite podcast, if you become infected with Covid-19 you are on your own. The best advice from trusted epidemiologists and doctors is avoid getting infected in the first place. This means practicing social distancing, wearing a mask in public, and if you shows signs of infection, quarantining for up to two weeks. Anyone who tells you they have a cure for the Covid virus is selling you a myth. Remember, cleaning products and chakra stone healing crystals will not keep you safe, no matter how pretty they are in the sunlight.
Coronavirus Scam #3: Fraudulent Covid-19 Charities
This has to be one of the most deplorable scams out there. It’s one thing to scam someone out of $40 for an air filter that doesn’t actually protect against Covid-19. But to pretend you’re a victim of the virus or are a charity with a mission to help Covid-19 victims? Absolutely contemptible. If you are in a donating spirit, do due diligence and research the charities you plan to give to. It might even be best to give to charities you know and trust, like the ASPCA or the NCADV. Disasters such as the coronavirus tend to harm those with the least power, so do your part if you’re in a giving mood and can afford to do so.
Coronavirus Scam #4: Fake Coronavirus Websites
With so many people stuck at home, forced to work remotely on their laptops, online security protocols simply aren’t what they used to be. Identifying scammy websites set up to phish your credit card information or even your social security card number can be a difficult task even for the most tech-savvy. Check Point Software Technologies says that over 50% of websites about the coronavirus are likely being run by scammers. These websites hope to either trick you into downloading their phishing software or, worse, bait you into freely inputting your credit card number to buy a product, such as a face mask or bogus cure, so they can empty your account and ride off into a digitally generated sunset. Don’t fall for their ploys. Only buy from trusted websites like amazon.com and only trust mainstream news sources, such as the BBC.com, for information about the virus and the quarantine.
Coronavirus Scam #5: Social Security Scammers
Thankfully, most Social Security Administration (SSA) offices have been shuttered to prevent the spread of Covid-19. But this hasn’t stopped unscrupulous scammers from trying to grift benefit payments out of victims. The most common scheme is to trick people into handing over their personal information by pretending to be a representative of the SSA. Another scam they might try is to inform victims that their benefits will be terminated or suspended if they do not pay a fee. If you receive a phone call, text, or letter attempting to make such unfounded claims, contact the Social Security Administration’s Inspector General at oig.ssa.gov ASAP. You may help prevent another person from being swindled out of SSD benefits they desperately rely upon.