Target Smart by Main St. Inc.
April 21, 2020
During this time of uncertainty, scammers are exploiting fears consumers have surrounding COVID-19. Their tactics can be confusing and intimidating. Here are a few tips you can arm your self with in order to prevent fraud and keep your information safe.
The FTC has recommended that consumers should hang up on robocalls. These illegal calls advertise cures and treatments for the Coronavirus and offer false remote work opportunities. There have also been reported cases of phone calls asking for donations for vaccines, tests, and treatments. These are typically recorded messages that can signal the call is a scam. These calls are illegal. You should never press any buttons or numbers and hang up when you recognize the scam.
Emails & Texts
Emails and text messages are circulating trying to get customers to share personal information like account numbers, Social Security information or login credentials. Scammers also send emails containing a link, that when clicked on, installs a virus or malware on a computer. These tactics can cause you to lose control of your accounts.
Keep your computer software and antivirus programs up to date. Be wary of messages claiming test kits, vaccines, and cures. If an email or text message makes these claims, delete the email or text message. For emails, always check the email address from the sender. If you do not recognize the email, immediately delete it.
Scammers are also taking advantage of customers who want to help those affected by the Coronavirus. The FTC reported that scammers use a fake charity or organization name that sounds similar to a real organization to fool the generosity of others. Any money donated will go to the scammer and not towards helping a cause. Make sure to research the organization you would like to donate to ensure its credibility.
FTC has also warned against false online sellers featuring in-demand products such as cleaning solutions or masks. These sellers do not have these products and when a customer places an order, they never receive their package. Always verify the seller’s information.
The Better Business Bureau has released several warnings regarding a few trends taking hold on social media. Social media has seen an increase in quizzes and challenges that threaten a consumer’s private information. Many of these new social media quizzes ask common security questions or challenges to post a senior class picture or your first car. This can lead to financial accounts being hacked and personal and financial information being stolen. Be aware of the risks in partaking in these challenges, review privacy settings on all social media accounts, consider removing personal details from their accounts, monitor suspicious friend requests, and use caution when participating in quizzes online.
FTC has created some engaging tools to make consumers aware of potential scams and help you protect your community. Take a look at the FTC Scam Bingo Card to spot the scams!