The global pandemic of the Coronavirus COVID-19 strain has taken the whole world by surprise. People are scrambling for cleaning products, medical equipments and testing kits. During the time of confusion, bad people are capitalizing on it and they try to keep up with the times of change like this. The keywords Coronavirus cleaning products and protection, medical testing kits etc are targets of mis-use as per Evy Poumpouras a former U.S. Secret Service agent.
People are told about “shelter in place” , “safer at home” and “lockdown” orders keep us homebound. The only exception is the time to purchase food or medicine or work “essential” jobs. People are now transitioning to digital work life which leaves us vulnerable to deception.
We need to watch out for the following:
Medical supply scams. As the term implies, these are scam that might call of email you stating that they have medical supplies, face masks or testing kits and they would offer to sell them to you. Due to the pandemic, they are offering the said items to you for a large amount of money. The biggest indicator is when the offer requires you to wiring the funds or making a direct account deposit. In which case is a red flag. Legitimate businesses accept credit cards and seldom do the aforementioned means of paying. These scams are prevalent in states highly affected by the COVID-19.
Financial freebies. Everyone is financially affected by pandemic. Some unscrupulous people falsely offers money in exchange with verifying personal information like (name, social security number, home address) over the phone or email. If you receive one of these, hang up or just ignore the email.
Be vigilant and look out for hints and clues to figure out if they are legit. One tell-tale sign is incorrect grammar, typographical errors. Some of these scams are being perpetuated by people overseas. Incoherent sentence structures is also another sign since they are sometimes translating what they want to say and it comes out wrong. So watch out for these since there are a lot of things going on and you might just miss the small details.
Routine financial fraud: The whole world has more than 400,000 plus infected people yet still, people still do banking and financial transactions. These avenue will still be exploited. If you get a call or email regarding your credit cards or bank, just ignore them. Deal with the bank or credit card company directly if needed.
Online account hacking. It would be wise to change your password to something complex and make them different for each and every online account you have. We suggest that you write them down instead of saving it on your computer. Nobody can hack you if there is no information they can get from your computer to login to your accounts. Being old-school may seem outdated but it will save you the hassle. While we are at the topic of changing your password, update your security questions also.
Donate cautiously: We all know that this is the time to help each other and donations are in dire need. If you would like to contribute to charity, do not just give out money if you got an email or call from them. Check them out if they are legitimate and deal with them directly instead. Scammers prey on your compassion so watch out.
Fear and panic is what key are promoting and slowly narrow down the vulnerable ones. If you are not thinking clearly and carefully, I am pretty sure they will target you since in that state on mind, criminals will feed on it. You might make fear-based decisions and that’s where you can make mistakes.