LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)– The coronavirus pandemic has given rise to online scams, according to a report released by an investigation website.
Their report emphasizes four scams that have become most prevalent.
1. FAMILY SCAMS
According to the site, family scams often occur at night and target older adults.
You will answer your phone and hear someone saying, “Grandma” or “Grandpa”. They’ll say that they’ve contracted the virus and are homebound and in quarantine.
The scammer will then ask you to send them a gift card online, immediately, so they can buy delivery food or supplies. You’ll be upset and do so, without thinking twice. The caller will actually be a scammer and keep your money.
How to Avoid: Always check your caller ID to make sure it is actually your loved one calling you. If you feel like scammers are masking the caller ID to make it seem like it’s your loved one, call them back on their trusted phone number to confirm and verify it’s them. Don’t send money over the phone, even if it is someone you think you trust and always give it to them in person.
2. QUACK ALERT
Scammers have been trying to sell colloidal silver or aromatherapy, claiming these natural products combat the virus.
There are currently no viable antibiotics for the Coronavirus and natural products are not, in any way, proven to do the trick and fight this illness.
The FTC is compiling these fraudulent scams and products and has released a list.
You might see these scam products shared on social media with testimonials or warnings about the disease.
How to Avoid: Do not believe anyone who says they have found a natural remedy to cure coronavirus. LDH reports there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection.
3. FAKE VACCINE
You might receive a “secret” call, email, or text about a supposed government vaccine that only you and a select few are privy to. If it sounds too good to be true it is, especially in regards to coronavirus.
How to Avoid: If someone you don’t know asks for money over the phone, chances are they are probably a scammer trying to steal your money. Hospitals and universities will be the ones to help fund vaccines and research to try and find a cure, and they won’t ask people on the phone to help them.
4. FAKE CDC AND WHO EMAILS
You receive a fake email which looks legitimate. It reads as if it was sent from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO).
The email might link to a product that will “help you,” however, the email is actually a scam and not really sent by the organization it appears to be from.
How to Avoid: Don’t click on any email that claims it has a product to help cure you of coronavirus. If you still aren’t sure of whether to trust the email, look at the “reply to” email address and all hyperlinks in the email. They will link you to outside websites that are not secure and can collect all your financial data or download malware.
If you encounter a coronavirus scam, contact local law enforcement or file a complaint with the FTC, or the Better Business Bureau. If your information was compromised (financial and personal data), check your credit report and request a credit freeze.