Scammers are taking advantage of the uncertainty, fear, and anxiety that the coronavirus pandemic has caused. Here are three ways they are currently targeting people, especially senior citizens.
- Phone or in person offers to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine
- An IRS agent calling to confirm a stimulus payment
- Someone at the door offering to swab your nose to see if you have the coronavirus
More than 3,600 complaints of COVID-19 scams had come into the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center through April 21, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Federal authorities have already shut down a number of internet-based scams, including websites purporting to be the IRS and American Red Cross as well as other COVID-19-related websites laden with malware that, when clicked or downloaded, can give hackers access to people’s computers.
Make sure anyone who may be vulnerable to these types of attacks know that only health care providers, or state-run testing centers are performing COVID-19 tests.
They should also be aware that the IRS never initiates communication to taxpayers with a phone call or email. In addition, you don’t have to confirm your stimulus payments.
The following advice comes from the Federal Trade Commission.
- Don’t be rushed. Whatever the call, email, text, or social media post is about, remember that scammers try to rush you. Legit people don’t.
- Check it out. Before you act on something or share it – stop. Do some research. Do the facts back up the story?
- Pass it on. If you get offered something great, or you’re worried about something alarming: talk to someone you trust before you act. What do they think?
Please spread the word to your friends and loved ones.