Unfortunately, even though the world is already dealing with the pandemic, the world now also needs to deal with the new slew of issues regarding the COVID-19 Scammers. These scams are happening worldwide, and so far here is what we have found as the main scams, and how to handle them.
One of the scams going around the United States is in regards to expediting your US Stimulus Check. The scam is asking for an upfront payment for the “service” which needs to be paid into their PayPal account. Some of these scammers even offer to refund the fee should they not be successful in getting your stimulus check. The process is flawed and dangerous as people are handing their information including Social Security numbers. What you should do is use official IRS and government websites in order to inquire about the status of your check. Do not trust a broker who demands any type of payment.
Another Scam going around is the “At-Home” COVID-19 tests. As corona tests are not readily available and people who are ill would prefer to be tested at home, scammers are offering to send “government-issued test kits for a low price of $19.99.” The scam is capitalizing on people’s fears who are desperate for some control during this pandemic. The price is set low enough that it is feasible and the payment is made into a PayPal account this lends credibility to the offer. To avoid this scam, you should be getting all COVID and testing information from your local health physician or official government or county sources. Please note that PayPal has strict rules on when you can request a refund. The smart scammers ensure that they fulfill their obligation so that it invalidates any refund claims. This can include a confirmed delivery or a download which is technically fulfilling their obligation.
Some of the more prominent scams involve phony cures and treatments for the Coronavirus. These may appear in social media, emails, and websites. Presently there are no legitimate approved treatments or cures for the Coronavirus available to the public. This scam is easily avoided by never purchasing such products without checking first with your physician, however, many have fallen to this scam as it is praying on the panicked and fearful. To learn more about the different types of phony cure scams, visit Scamacide, where it lists out the scams more thoroughly.
Lastly, many scammers are placing malware onto unsuspecting people’s mobile devices or desktops through email links. These emails look legitimate and provide information on COVID-19 details, however, it allows them to obtain information on your identity which leads to identity theft. The only way to avoid this scam is to not click links on emails concerning Covid-19 unless you are absolutely positive it is a legitimate source, otherwise, it is safer to avoid.