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How to Avoid COVID-19 Scams

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic is nothing short of challenging. In the midst of it all, scammers are on the prowl. 

As you look for ways to care for your family, friends, neighbors, and others in need, stay alert to the following ways scammers are capitalizing on the opportunity to make money. 

Bogus Phone Calls 
With the government’s recent decision to provide financial relief to all Americans, scammers are posing as agency representatives trying to collect your personal data. Beware of any communication from an individual asking for your social security number, financial account numbers, and other personal information. Your information is on file with the government through recent tax records. Remember, the government will not contact you for your personal information. 

Opportunities too Good to be True
Lookout for offers received by email or circulated on the internet making claims to improve your financial situation, such as work from home opportunities or special investment offers. Any offer that sounds too good to be true, especially one involving money, is probably a scam.

Charity Fraud
Many organizations and teams of individuals have established ways you can donate to help those impacted by COVID-19. If you receive a call from an organization claiming to take donations for relief, be certain it’s a legitimate effort by hanging up and doing your research before you donate. You can also visit Check-A-Charity, a website established by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to help prevent charity fraud. 

Fraudulent Links
Scammers ramp up their efforts during times of crisis where individuals may feel vulnerable. It’s especially important to be vigilant anytime you receive an email or text message asking you to click on a link. Fraudulent communications like these generally create some sort of urgency or fear that if you do not respond quickly, you will be penalized in some way. If you receive a message that looks like it’s from a known source, such as a company you typically deal with, and it asks you to click on a link, do not respond. First, contact the company separately to verify the communication.

The COVID-19 “Cure”
Be wary of offers that claim to shield or cure you from COVID-19, such as specialized cleaning supplies, natural remedies, or protective gear. These are all forms of scams looking for financial gain in a vulnerable situation. Unless preventative information is released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other legitimate government agencies, be wary of their claims. 

As we continue to move through the COVID-19 pandemic, we will likely discover more ways scammers are working for financial gain. Protect yourself and your family by staying alert and taking the necessary precautions. 

Source: CNBC