How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Scams!
March 24, 2020
We suppose it was inevitable, the heartless criminal masses conspiring to find a way to defraud unsuspecting people in the midst of a global medical crisis – but it’s still mind-boggling. To protect yourself and the ones you love, take a quick look at the COVID-19 scams that are currently being perpetrated, and be on guard!
Fake Coronavirus Test Kits
It’s the item on everyone’s “must have” list right now, a coronavirus test to see if you have it or not. However, as NBC News warns, the kits that are showing up online—some at outrageous prices—should be avoided at all costs. Despite what anyone claims, there are no FDA-approved at-home COVID-19 tests available in the U.S.
Don’t Click on $100 Starbucks Coupons
It doesn’t take a pandemic for click-bait ads to appear online, but in times of crisis, people are more willing to believe in a great deal, so this type of ploy seems even more nefarious.
Snopes investigated the validity of the $100 Starbucks coupons that are popping up online, and it appears these coupons “echo similar coupon scams that promise “free” or discounted goods from well-known brands if users click on a site — collecting people’s private information in the process — but then don’t deliver on the promise.” And for latte-lovers who haven’t heard, Starbucks has closed its cafes and resorted to drive-through and delivery only.
There’s No Cure–Yet
No matter how much we wish it were true, there simply is not a cure for COVID-19, yet. It can be confusing—even the White House task force on the novel coronavirus has mentioned drugs that treat other diseases as possible remedies—but according to the New York Times, Dr. Anthony Fauci has been clear: there is NO proven cure for COVID-19.
Still, that doesn’t keep websites, tweets, and Facebook posts from declaring otherwise. The LA Times warns these fraudulent remedies may present a danger to more than your bank account—they may prevent you from seeking legitimate medical advice. Don’t believe anyone but a medical professional!
With shortages from hand sanitizer to toilet paper appearing in nearly every part of the country, it may seem reassuring to think you can purchase these things online. But the Federal Trade Commission warns it’s easy for anyone to set up a digital shop online to take money for products they don’t have—and that you won’t ever receive.
Here’s what the FTC suggests: Check out the seller by searching online for the person or company’s name, phone number and email address, plus words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” If everything checks out, pay by credit card and keep a record of your transaction. If you’re concerned about the pricing of products in your area, contact your state consumer protection officials. For a complete list of state Attorneys General, visit naag.org.
Malware and Phishing
With many more people working from home and communicating via email, the odds that you’ll receive an unsolicited email asking you to download an attachment or to give some information are higher than ever. Beware malware that even operates on phone apps—CNET reports on one recent scam called Covidlock that claimed to help users chart the spread of the virus. Instead, it led to a slew of Android phones being locked and held for ransom.
Android Authority suggests setting a password on your phone can help protect you from a lock-out attack if you’re using Android Nougat. It’s also a good idea to stick to the Google Play store for any coronavirus-related apps to better your odds of installing benign software.
Protect the Elderly from Scammers
Among the most despicable scams are those that victimize elderly people. Last week an elderly woman in Arkansas reported that two men came to her door to test her for the virus. They swabbed her nose and told her the result was negative–but she owed them $50 for the test. They also asked for her social security number and date of birth.
In Britain, The Guardian has reported that flyers have been distributed to elderly people’s homes, offering to decontaminate them. Please caution older family members and neighbors not to let anyone into their homes who claim to be helping with the COVID-19 crisis!
Dream Homes in Southshore
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