Covid-19 has brought out the best in people with neighbors helping neighbors, and essential workers being celebrated. On the other side, however, it has created new instances of fraud and scams looking to prey on elderly people specifically. There are always scammers trying to take advantage and rob people of their possessions. With new businesses popping up related to the pandemic and stimulus payments coming through, it is important to keep your guard up against fraudulent activity. This article will provide some information and ways to be alert and aware of scams and fraud during Covid-19.
Have you been scammed?
You may not have even known at the time.
Curious about what types of scams there are? Just think of something that you own or need, and there is probably a scam connected to it. Here are some to be on the lookout for:
1. IRS calls. The IRS will contact you through the mail, not through phone calls. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, hang up. This is something that was occurring prior to the pandemic, and something we may be seeing more frequently now.
2. Emails from alleged charities related to Covid-19. You may receive an email from a favorite charity saying there is an emergency due to COVID-19 and you can donate by clicking on the link provided. Watch out for these and do not click on any links provided. Clicking on a link can install a virus on your computer, and potentially steal information. If you want to donate, seek out the organization or other reputable organizations such as Unicef, WHO, or local hospital systems and initiate the donation yourself.
3. COVID-19 Treatments. You may receive phone calls offering you products to prevent or treat COVID-19. Medications should be prescribed by your doctor. At this time there is no known cure for the Coronavirus. You should contact your physician before purchasing any so called vaccines, tests or medications.
4. Travel/ Vacation Cancellations. Be on the lookout for companies claiming they can help recover money lost from a canceled trip. Also, beware of booking trips for the winter which are deals that look too good to be true and require payment now.
5. Personal Protective Equipment. Supplies such as gloves, masks, and face shields have been difficult to purchase. Beware of phone calls and emails offering this protective equipment. Always research a company or ask a trusted individual for assistance before giving out credit card or bank account information to make purchases from strangers.
We all need to be on our toes to avoid being a victim of a scam or fraud. When in doubt, do some research and trust your instincts. One way to really protect yourself is to avoid clicking on a link that you received from a text, email, or through a social media platform. In addition, if something appears to be too easy or too good to be true, it probably is. Never give your information out to somebody that you don’t know and trust. Think about if what is being said really makes sense. Tell the caller you need to think it over, don’t make quick decisions about online and phone purchases.
Scams and fraud are not new but they will always evolve with changing technology. It is important to protect yourself. The team at My Personal Bookkeeper has trained and highly experienced staff that can assist you through any doubt or questions you have regarding fraud and other important financial questions. Visit us here at www.mypersonalbookkeeper.com to learn more.