Scams are numerous, and, now in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, the number of scams targeting the vulnerable and the unawares are increasing. Many of these scams are aimed at people giving away money. Some may try to divulge personal information out of individuals to gain access to their identity or monetary possessions. People age 62 or older are more prone to scams because of self-isolation and confusion surrounding the pandemic. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns about the increased number of scams related to vaccines, test kits, treatments, cures, and air filtration designed to remove COVID-19 from homes.
Another scam tactic is fake charities, which are used to entice people to give money to support a frivolous cause. This scam usually initiates with a phone call to entice people to donate money, while asking for financial information over the phone, like debit or credit card information. Be wary of people asking for money over the phone. If you are willing and able to give to a charitable organization, contact a reputable organization by using their official website.
The Federal Trade Commission has tips to protect individuals from being victims of scams:
- Don't click on links from sources that are unknown to you. Viruses can be lurking in these unknown links. Also, make sure your anti-virus or malware software is up to date on your computer.
- Be careful of email claiming to come from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For up to date information, it is best to visit the official CDC website, opens a new window and the World Health Organization (WHO) website, opens a new window.
- Ignore online offers for vaccines, treatments, testings, or cures for the Coronavirus.
- If someone asks you to make a donation to a charity or support group, find out if it is a reputable organization. Don't rush to send sensitive financial information or a wire transfer.
- Be wary of "investment opportunities" that may be found on the Internet or Facebook. Scammers are looking for ways to take your money by convincing you that the money will be well invested and often guarantee the return of your money.