Across the country, federal and local law enforcement agencies are warning older adults about COVID-19 scams and requesting personal information or making false promises about COVID-19 cures and test kits.
Corewood wants to make you aware of these coronavirus scams. We also want you to know that experts believe the number of new schemes will only increase over the coming months. Some of the most common scams include:
- Individuals selling treatments for COVID-19 vaccine, cure, or insurance.
- Online sales of high demand medical supplies such as N 90 or N95 masks.
- Phishing calls, text messages, or emails from national or global health authorities asking for personal and/or financial information.
- Calls or emails requesting contributions for obscure COVID-19 treatments.
- Appeals for donations for individuals affected by COVID-19.
- Unofficial COVID-19 apps and downloads that can potentially compromise a person's computer or phone with malware.
- Financial planners alleging they have "inside information" to prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19.
- Scammers calling as contact tracers claiming the individual has been exposed to COVID-19 and needs to act quickly. They then request the person's social security numbers, insurance information, or advanced payment for bogus COVID-19 tests.
- Calls claiming to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA), claiming that benefits will be interrupted unless the caller provides their social security or bank account number.
- Scammers impersonating bank employees who claim that banks are falsely limiting access to funds or alleging security issues with bank deposits.
Top TEN Tips for Avoiding COVID-19 Scams:
- Discount claims about COVID-19 vaccine, cure, or treatment.If there is a medical discovery, it wouldn't be reported through unsolicited emails or online ads.
- Depend on official sources for current information on COVID-19.Review your state's health department websites, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the World Health Organization for the latest developments.
- Know that the safest place for your money is in the bank—your funds are physically secure and federally insured, something you don't have when your money is outside the banking system.
- Be on guard for phishing scams. Do not click on links, pop-up screens, or open any attachments from sources you don't know. NEVER share your password, account number, or PIN with anyone.
- Investigate before donating. Be circumspect about any individual, charity, or business requesting COVID-19-related donations in cash, by wire transfer, gift card, or through the mail.
- Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date. Using the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are your best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates to get the newest fixes.
- Avoid bogus website links. Hackers embed malicious links into devices by tricking you into downloading malware or route users to bogus websites. Fraudulent links are often disguised by simple changes in the URL, such as www.ABC-Bank.com vs. ABC_Bank.com.
- Enable multi-factor authentication for critical financial accounts. Multi-factor authentication is a second step to verify who you are. This often means you will receive a text message to verify your status before gaining access to a site.
- There is a high potential for fraud presently. Be leery of any company claiming the ability to prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus.
- Help others by reporting coronavirus scams. Contact the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov to report suspected or confirmed scams. The Federal Trade Commission also provides an updated list of the latest coronavirus scams at ftc.gov/coronavirus.