The fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has created a fertile ground for the highly malicious. As is the case with any type of public-based crisis, the spread of the recently identified coronavirus has created a new group of malicious scammers.
These individuals are targeting individuals who are awaiting the economic stimulus package for their family, those that are required to work online or have recently filed for unemployment, as well as those that are desperate to stay healthy during these dark times.
Your mailbox, your texts, your social media profiles, your inbox, and even websites and blogs hold several dark corners that are filled with misinformation and scams.
Continue reading to learn how to avoid potentially irreversible issues during this viral outbreak.
Fraud and Scams Relating to COVID-19
Scammers are harnessing the fear surrounding the pandemic and leveraging that in order to obtain personal information, obtain your money illegally, and take advantage of you.
Apart from practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and taking other protective measures, you must also protect your identity and your money.
All individuals must research the information that they are being presented with each day. They must be cautious when making donations. They must practice caution when making online purchases and they must protect their personal identifiable information to the highest degree.
Nearly 50% of all individuals in the United States feel as if they have already been potentially targeted by illegal activities related to the coronavirus outbreak.
Over 50% have stated that they are more concerned – than ever before – that they will fall victim to these scams.
Approximately 45% claim that they have observed an uptick in unknown callers and unknown emails since the emergence of COVID-19.
Here, you will be presented with a few steps that will help keep you, your information, and your financial health safe during the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Phishing Scams on the Rise
Phishing scams are becoming increasingly prevalent. Do not fall for the “bait”, simply cut the line and relieve yourself of the proverbial “sinker” associated with these illegal activities.
In most instances, this comes through the means of an unsolicited email.
In most cases, the email will prompt you to click on some type of link or attachment. Upon doing so, a malicious program is then downloaded on your electronic device. Upon attempting to log in to your accounts, the information is stolen and quickly taken over and controlled by scammers.
This is increasingly becoming more common due to the economic stimulus checks being issued by the Federal Government.
Many are desperate for these checks.
They will do just about anything requested to get them as quickly as possible.
Scammers know this – so, they send out emails requesting personal information that may be used to deliver the check to the recipient. The government will never send you these types of emails. Delete them immediately.
Never download or click a link in an email from a sender that you do not know or trust. Additionally, remember that a legitimate business would never request this information through an email.
When a natural disaster strikes, it is common for us to open up our wallets a little bit to assist those that are less fortunate.
In order to protect our financial health, it is imperative that we thoroughly research that which we want to donate to just to make certain that we are not funneling our hard-earned money through to the account of a scammer.
The Federal Trade Commission has a page dedicated to outlining charity scams.
Before making a donation, review the information on that page. You may also utilize pages such as give.org to discover a legitimate charity in which to make a donation.
Keep Your Money Safe
While it is true that we are in uncertain times, it is possible to keep your money safe. The way to do this is to place it in the bank during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While most banks have adjusted their hours of operation and their services to keep individuals safe, the account where you place your funds is protected by the FDIC.
In addition to this, money has been found to harbor germs and bacteria. When the coronavirus first developed in China, they went as far as to burn money to eliminate the potential for infection.
By using digital payment services offered through your bank, your money is not only protected from scammer, but also from harboring the virus and potentially making you sick.