|First came the health scams|
Initial scams around COVID-19 involved peddling treatments, tests and cures, or promises that you could reserve your vaccine by clicking a link (which would install malicious software on your device). When face masks were in high demand, scammers were posting fake ads, coercing people to pay for masks that were never sent. And, while more of an unfair business practice than a scam, vendors were charging outrageous prices for in-demand items (remember the run on toilet paper, anyone?).
|Next came the economic scams|
Economic impact payments began in April, and as soon as they started hitting mailboxes and bank accounts, scammers began working the phones. Often they called claiming to be the IRS and asking for personal or financial information in order to process your stimulus payment. They would even ask for a fee to process the payment faster. Identity thieves were busy redirecting the payments from the intended recipient to their own pockets. And we are still hearing about identity thieves claiming unemployment benefits in the names of other people.
|And now, contact tracing scams|
The latest scam involves contact tracing. As states launch robust contact tracing programs, scammers are taking advantage. Scammers are sending texts with links or making robocalls claiming the recipient has been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Their goal? To pry sensitive personal information from people to steal their money or their identity. As the pandemic marches on, it’s giving unique opportunities for scammers to get between you and your money. Please keep yourself — and your money — safe.