How to recognize COVID-19 scams

Scams are nothing new, especially those targeting older adults. However, during the uncertainty of the current COVID-19 pandemic, new scams have been created. “Recently we’ve heard from a few residents reporting scams related to the coronavirus,” said Elizabeth Meyer, executive director of sales. “Thankfully, even though scams may increase in times like this, we can be aware and diligent.”

Learn how to recognize these scams so you can protect yourself and others.

Stimulus check scams:

Though the government is preparing to send stimulus checks, you will not be asked to share personal information. The government will not ask for a fee, your personal information, or your banking information.

Product scams:

Some scammers are calling to offer products related to the coronavirus protection. These products may include vaccines, test kits, treatments, or air filters. Since there is not yet a vaccine for the coronavirus, these kinds of offers can be recognized as scams. Additionally, testing is available only through local and state governments, not at-home kits.

Charity scams:

Unfortunately, these scams were prevalent even before the coronavirus. However, more scams asking for money, charity donations, or payment information. Be wary of phone calls from people claiming to be charities or people in need. If you want to donate to a charity, visiting the organization’s website is usually the safest way to contribute.

Online shopping scams:

If you receive a suspicious email from an online retailer like Amazon, be careful. Some scams send messages saying credit cards have been declined and ask for a new card member. Always check directly with the retailer.

Other scams:

Other scammers may target Social Security benefits, insurance, or WHAT. Others might claim to be banks or use phishing emails.

Tips for protecting yourself from scams:

  • Be aware of requests for personal information
  • Check emails and links, and don’t click anything suspicious
  • Be wary of generic greetings
  • Be cautious about calls or emails asking you to act now
  • Hang up on robocalls or automated calls

Being aware is a great preventative measure to preserve your safety and wellbeing. When we are educated and alert, we don’t need to live in fear. If you want to report a suspected scam, visit www.ftc.gov/complaint or call 1-800-677-1116.

Topics: Featured, Tips for Seniors

Amy Weiss

Written by Amy Weiss

Walker Methodist storyteller and marketing assistant

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