COVID Scams: How to Protect Yourself and Keep Your Money Safe

covid scams, coronavirus tips, medicare, covid-19 scams, fraud, money

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Experts report that coronavirus scams are currently surging. Especially since the COVID-19 vaccine is soon to come out, scams have skyrocketed. As of December 3, victims of fraud had lost a total of $195 million, with an average loss of $324. 

Scams are taking all kinds of forms, such as:

  • Robocalls
  • Emails
  • Texts
  • Social media posts or ads 
  • Impostor schemes
  • Fake websites
  • Offers for COVID-19 contact tracing information
  • Door-to-door visits

Watch this video from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to know what you should watch out for and how to protect yourself against fraud:

Scams: the details

In April, Google reported that Gmail was blocking 18 million phishing emails a day. Tens of thousands of fake home test kits have been seized, and more than 1,000 fake websites a day have been removed during the pandemic, according to ABC News. 

The first step is to be aware of what’s going on. Seniors should be on the lookout for these scams. Fraudsters are monitoring changes in the news and varying their scams accordingly on stimulus checks, COVID-19 vaccines, and other hot issues. 

Fraudsters pretend to be government agencies, and scammers have even been posing as charities raising funds for those affected by COVID-19. 

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Other top scams that you might be exposed to are offers for:

  1. Coronavirus remedies and treatments
  2. COVID-19 antibody tests
  3. Supplies such as cleaners, test kits, and masks
  4. Stimulus payments
  5. Unemployment benefits
  6. Help with bills or credit card debt

What you can do to protect yourself from scams

For stimulus checks, know that the official government term is “economic impact payment” and not “stimulus check”, and also that the government will not be calling you about a stimulus payment. 

The government will also NOT contact you regarding your personal information for a COVID-19 vaccine. If you receive a call from someone you don’t know, it is okay to simply hang up the phone.  

Beware of anything that asks you to click a link, download a file, or give your personal information or money. Do not give out our Medicare or Social Security numbers or credit card numbers. Avoid anything asking you to pay quickly with a prepaid debit card or gift card. 

When getting treatment or testing for COVID-19, only visit a licensed doctor who has been approved to administer the vaccine. Do not purchase vaccines or treatment online. When researching COVID-19 information on sites such as the CDC (cdc.gov) and the WHO (who.int), make sure you have the correct web address, as scammers have been impersonating these sites as well. 

While everyone is anxious for a vaccine to become available, it is important to remain patient and only go through official channels to get the vaccines and remedies you need. Seniors will be close to the top of the list of those eligible to get vaccinated first. Save money and protect yourself from fraud. You can report suspicious COVID-19 scams to [email protected]

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