Scammers are taking advantage of the current pandemic to launch a slew of scams. As of May 31, the FTC had received more that 33,800 fraud complaints of people losing $44.25 million overall. Here are some of the top scams to look out for.
Top coronavirus scams
- Coronavirus vaccine. There is no vaccine yet available for coronavirus. Once one becomes available, Medicare has announced that they will cover the cost. But it could be 2021 before a vaccine has gone through the proper trials and been approved. Therefore, do not buy into anyone calling to offer you the coronavirus vaccine, since it does not exist.
- Selling in-demand items or cures. Many scammers are using robocalls, texts, or social media ads to sell face masks and supposed home remedies or cures for coronavirus. Do not engage with these callers or click on the ads. There is no cure for the virus, and if you need face masks or other personal protective items, use a secure and trusted source.
- Messages claiming to be from the CDC or the WHO. Two of the central experts on the coronavirus pandemic are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Scammers are impersonating these organizations, sending emails claiming to be from them with important information about a COVID-19 test. Do not open attachments or click links in these emails, since they can download harmful malware onto your computer.
- Puppy scams. With more and more people looking to buy a new dog during the pandemic, scammers have created fake sites where they are selling dogs from supposed breeders. They ask people to venmo or zelle them money, and then end up asking for more money for a crate or insurance. In the end, there is no dog.
- Stimulus check scams. In light of the many Americans waiting to receive their stimulus checks, scammers are out in full force with emails and text messages about receiving your check. Do not give out your private information. The government will not contact you via an unsolicited email about your stimulus check.
- Giving to charity. While it’s important to give to charity during these times, make sure you check out the site you are donating to before giving money. The Federal Trade Commission lists what to know about charity scams — make sure you do your homework before making a donation.
- Someone at your door. No one will come to your door from Medicare. If someone approaches you saying they are from Medicare, lock the door and not not let them in. No one from Medicare will call you or come to your home. Guard your Medicare information just as you would your credit card number.
What you should know
Unfortunately, there are many coronavirus scams out there right now. Be sure not to give out your personal information, Medicare number, Social Security number, or click on a link or open an attachment that comes from a source you do not know. Staying safe on the internet will help you stay safe and hold on to your assets at home.