In these uncertain times many Americans are feeling vulnerable. The pandemic, their health and safety, money, the economy, there are so many things to worry about. Unfortunately we have to add scammers to the list. Scammers and cyber thieves are chomping at the bit to take advantage of people in these times. The Federal Trade Commission has received over 18,000 COVID-19 related scam reports since January and these scams have cost Americans over $14 Million and growing.

Don’t be a victim. Please read on to find out more about what scams you should be aware of.

Coronavirus Scams

Treatment Scams

          One of the biggest scams out there right now involves a perpetrator calling their victim and impersonating a doctor or medical specialist. They explain that somebody you have come in contact with is being treated for the virus and in order to be tested you must submit a payment and a test will be sent to you. People are given a website or Venmo name and submit payment, losing their money.

Also, occasionally people will be called by somebody impersonating a doctor and told that a friend or loved one has been hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 and they must submit payment to help with their hospital bills.

It has also been seen that in order to prey on perhaps the most vulnerable, these “bad actors” are contacting people who are immunocompromised saying that they are selling health insurance specifically for COVID-19 and asking for personal information or payments over the phone.

 

Social Security Scams

Social Security recipients are constantly in danger of being scammed however during this pandemic they are even more of a target. According to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Social Security beneficiaries report receiving official-looking letters saying their benefits are being suspended due to COVID-19 unless they call the phone number provided in the letter. When they call that number, they are instructed to provide payment or verify personal information in order for their benefits to be reinstated.

 

Charity Scams

During these times generous Americans are inclined to help as many people suffering as they can by donating things, food, money etc. Unfortunately this just opens another door for scammers to get their feet into. 

Some scammers are calling and impersonating well-known charities asking for a monetary donation. This could come from a call, text, email or even social media post. We HIGHLY recommend checking the source as carefully as you can before donating anything.

 

Phishing Scams

Many scammers know that emails have become more important now for communication, conducting business, etc. and they are using this to their advantage!  Some of them are sending emails impersonating the IRS, Social Security, Charitable Organizations, Social Media, Food Delivery Sites and more. If you open the email and click the link it could take you to a fraudulent website where you are asked for personal or password information.