Broker Check

Avoiding COVID-19 Scams

Scammers, fraudsters, and other criminals are taking advantage of rapidly changing data and facts
associated with COVID-19, both in the workplace and in our homes. Government agencies,
corporations, and news outlets continue to warn individuals to be mindful of increased fraudulent
activities during these uncertain times.

These scams, which can be sent via email, text message, and social media claim to provide COVID-19
updates, sell products, ask for charitable donations, or reference government aid packages. These
messages appear to be legitimate in nature but seek to fraudulently obtain personal information,
financial gain, and create panic. Use these tips to identify and avoid scams:

  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    or experts claiming to have inside information on the virus. There are currently no vaccines,
    potions, lozenges, or other prescriptions available online or in-store to treat or cure COVID-19.

  • Do your homework prior to donating to charities or crowdfunding sites. Confirm the
    validity of the organization as fraudsters are now advertising fake charities. Do not let anyone
    rush you into a donation, particularly those who ask for cash, gift cards, or wiring of funds.

  • Do not click on links or open attachments from sources you do not know. Cybercriminals
    are using the COVID-19 headline as a tactic to spread viruses and steal information. Do not provide
    personal information, payment information or sensitive workplace information via suspicious email
    addresses.

  • Be suspicious of urgent demands and emergency requests. The health and safety of you and
    your family is the top priority. Do not fall for scammers threatening fees or fines, cancelled
    deliveries, and health concerns in exchange for financial gain.

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Many individuals have begun to receive
    robo-calls and social media requests for social security numbers, banking information, and gift
    cards. Scammers promise high paying work from home opportunities, free sanitation and cleaning, as
    well as COVID-19 protection in exchange for payment and sensitive information.

  • Be mindful of scammers using government aid packages for criminal gain. Lawmakers have
    announced plans to send Americans checks to assist with the financial burden of the virus, with
    details still in discussion. The government will not request payment, nor will anyone reach out
    requesting personally sensitive health or financial information in exchange for financial support.

  • Obtain your news from a trusted source. Be mindful of text message scams, social media
    pollsand fraudulent email accounts sharing false information to create panic. Before acting on
    information, review its source and check a trusted news outlet to confirm its validity.

When in doubt, ask a coworker, family member, or friend for their opinion. Two sets of eyes are
better than one. If you believe you have fallen victim of a scam, call your local police at their
non-emergency number and consider reporting to the FBI’s IC3 Internet Crime Database.

If you have any questions or concerns during this, please do not hesitate to reach out.

We continue to wish everyone good health as we all work to get through this challenging time.