Beware of COVID-19 scams!
Right now, everyone seems focused on the crippling effects of COVID-19 on our country, our businesses, our healthcare, our family and friends - as is only right. What is so very, very wrong is the number of phishing emails and scams on the rise related to this disease.
With people around the world taking to social media to show how communities have banded together, many are feeling an extra dose of generosity and moral, social responsibility. Yet there are still some people out there looking to illegally profit from this new situation.
Phone scams and email phishing continue to be the most popular forms, and I want to make you aware of some of the most common ones circulating right now. See below.
-- False exposure claims: Phone calls claiming the caller is from the health department, and that you have been exposed. The caller will then attempt to sell you an at-home testing kit or vaccine. There is currently no vaccine and testing kits are rare and hard to come by.
-- Fake charities: This is a phone con AND phishing email, where the scammer says that they are raising money for something related to COVID-19 (N95 masks for hospitals, looking for a vaccine, food for the elderly, etc.) While all of these causes are valid and tug at our heartstrings right now, do your due diligence. Don't commit to anything; don't give out any credit card or other personal information, until you've checked out the organization and made sure they're legitimate. And if you do want to give to those causes, check out a rating site such as www.charitynavigator.org. They rates charities based on financial health, accountability, and transparency, and have a page right now dedicated to charities supporting COVID-19 related causes.
-- Air filtration system: Yes, that's right. This is a novel idea. Someone will try to sell you an air filtration system that they claim will rid your home of the virus and keep you healthy. The catch? They want to come to your house to install it. First, would they even show up? Second, would you want them to??
Just be safe. Practice common sense in your daily routines, and in your virtual contacts with strangers. If you have any questions, please check out the Federal Trade Commission's website: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing