Fraud Prevention Series: Protect Yourself From Rising Coronavirus Scams
April 7, 2020
In this time of concern about coronavirus, scammers are taking advantage of fears caused by the pandemic. Here are some common coronavirus-related scams and tips to help you protect yourself.
Coronavirus relief check
In the next several weeks, you will receive your check directly from the federal government if you filed taxes for 2018 and/or 2019. Be aware of phone calls or emails from someone asking for your personal information, like your Social Security number, PayPal account, or financial information, in order for you to receive your check. You do not need to sign up to receive it.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning about online promotions claiming coronavirus prevention, detection, or cures and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result. These promotions seemingly from publicly-traded companies can be on social media and other communication mediums.
Online offers for vaccinations
If you see ads discussing prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the coronavirus, check reputable sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and your doctor, before acting.
During this time, many charities and crowdfunding sites are requesting donations to help those affected by COVID-19. It is important to make sure donation sites are legitimate before sending cash funds or inputting your credit card information. Additionally, watch out for a sense of urgency or incentive for donating — these are often red flags for scams.
The number one fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commissions in 2019 was imposter scams. These occur when someone calls or emails you posing as a company or person, such as the government, a well-known business, or family member with an emergency. Always check to make sure these requests are legitimate before providing personal information or sending funds.