We all know first-hand how much of an impact COVID-19 is having on our daily routines. During this time of panic, anxiety and fear, criminals are seeing opportunity. Stay educated and diligent on the ever-changing fraud schemes impacting consumers. Here are a few to watch out for:
- Email and text message phishing scams, disguised as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), are being circulated throughout the world. The messages contain malicious links that download malware. The malware gives cyber-criminals access to the victims’ data. If you are seeking information, go directly to the CDC or WHO.
- Fundraising Scams are setup by fake charities that solicit donations from consumers. They claim to be involved in fighting the spread of the coronavirus.
- Scammers are targeting consumers and encouraging them to “reserve a COVID-19 vaccination over the phone.” The scammer will obtain personal information from the victim, including credit card and social security numbers. They claim to be from the CDC, and they are reserving vaccines for “high-risk” individuals. There are NO vaccine reserve programs.
- Fraudsters are preying on consumers by offering an “advance” on the stimulus package from the U.S. government. The criminals contact consumers and claim that, for an upfront fee, they will wire the stimulus amount to the victim within hours or days. The fraudster obtains identifying and financial information from the victim and disappears.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC has issued joint warning letters to at least SEVEN companies for “selling fraudulent products with claims to prevent, treat, mitigate, diagnose or cure COVID-19.
- Illegal price gouging on safety, cleaning and treatment products is increasing daily. Be aware and diligent of scammers.
- Criminals are targeting remote workers. Be aware of phishing emails and NEVER click unknown attachments or files. Be diligent and report anything suspicious and/or uncommon to your company’s IT Department.