People are being victimized by coronavirus scams. It’s bad enough that a vocal minority keeps insisting on endangering the greater public good by breaking COVID-19 quarantine measures to protest having to stay inside. To make matters worse there are active coronavirus scams circulating that have promoted action from government agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
What do you need to know to avoid getting scammed during the coronavirus lockdown? Learn how to protect your money and your credit today.
Don’t Respond To Unsolicited Emails, Calls, Texts, Social Media
Why do people continue to send spam emails? Because there is a certain segment of the American population still so uninformed about how spam works. If you did not request information from a third party, don’t respond to their unsolicited offers. It really is as simple as that. Don’t do it.
Don’t Respond To People Calling, Texting, And Emailing You About Home Testing And Vaccinations
At the time of this article’s writing, there are no vaccinations against COVID-19. And when there ARE vaccinations against COVID-19, you won’t be notified with a spam email or text, you’ll hear about it on the news or from your healthcare provider. Do not allow yourself to be marketed to by spammers offering false hope.
Do Not Respond To Robocalls. Ever
Why? Don’t take our word for it, here’s the dirt from the Federal Trade Commission:
“A robocall trying to sell you something is illegal unless a company has your written permission to call you that way. To get your permission, the company has to be clear it’s asking to call you with robocalls, and it can’t make you agree to the calls to get a product or service. If you give permission, you have the right to change your mind later.”
The FTC reminds consumers that some robocalls are allowed under FTC rules without your permission including political calls. But these calls generally aren’t selling, they seek votes or donations or there is an awareness-raising campaign at work for a political issue.
Ignore Emails To You Claiming To Be From the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) Or World Health Organization (WHO)
Avoid Fundraising Scams
There is nothing wrong with donating to your favorite cause. But new scams abound and you may be bombarded by requests for money from agencies you have never heard of. Don’t donate to charities you don’t know and don’t allow a scammer to talk you into donating via gift cards or wire transfer. These are classic scammer tricks.
During COVID-19, many bloggers and finance writers are discussing the importance of the gift card as a way to support local businesses. When you buy a gift card for a local business, you basically give them an interest-free loan until you use the card. That is perfectly legitimate and is NOT what we are talking about here.
Scammers who ask you to donate via a gift card do so because those cards are as good as cash to them and totally untraceable. Don’t be fooled. Never wire transfer or pay via gift card to any entity you don’t personally know well.
Joe Wallace is a writer and editor from Illinois. He was an editor and producer for Air Force Television News for 13 years, and has served as Managing Editor for publications including Gearwire.com, and Associate Editor for FHANewsBlog.com. He is also an experienced book and script editor specializing in non-fiction and documentary filmmaking.