Defend Against COVID-19 Fraud and Scams

There has been a sharp rise in scams and fraud related to the COVID-19 pandemic and sometimes it’s hard to tell if something is legitimate or if it’s a scam. It might be a scam if:

  • it seems too good to be true
  • someone you don’t know contacts you unexpectedly
  • you suspect you’re not dealing with a real company – for example if there’s no postal address
  • you’ve been asked to transfer money quickly

Here are some ways you can prevent and respond to scams and fraud, particularly under the threat of coronavirus (COVID-19).

-Use trusted sources such as legitimate, government websites for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19.

-Be wary of advertisements for vaccinations, medications, home health kits, supplements, or other health products to treat the virus, which are not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your local health department, or your medical provider. Scammers are selling products to treat COVID-19 without proof that they work. Remember, there is no approved vaccination for COVID-19 at present. If you are uncertain about something, seek guidance from your healthcare provider.

-Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from low-priced health insurance to work-at-home schemes or to tell you your Social Security account has been suspended and you need to take action.

-Watch for emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO. Disregard the emails and go directly to sites like coronavirus.gov and usa.gov/coronavirus to get the latest information. Please don’t click on links from sources you don’t know.

-Do your homework when it comes to donations. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.

-Be aware of phishing emails that may contain malware and or request your personal information. Do not open links in emails from people or organizations that you do not know.

-Be wary of phishing phone calls as well. Never give your personal information (Social Security number, bank information, birth date, password, etc.) to an individual that calls you. If you are concerned that they might be legitimate, hang up and contact the office, bank, or government agency through a published website or phone number.

-Be wary of unsolicited offers of telemedicine services.  Use telemedicine providers from known sources, such as the MUSC or Roper St. Francis telemedicine departments, or contact your health care provider.

-Beware of door-to-door COVID-19 scams, such as individuals knocking on your door offering to do COVID-19 home inspections.

There are many people out there trying to make a buck from unsuspecting targets. Please don’t fall into their trap.  Be alert.

Tidelines Editors

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