With so much fear and uncertainty going on, it is somewhat easy for cybercriminals to leverage that fear and uncertainty for profit. As such, we are seeing countless scams due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are just a handful of them.
Fake Payments from the United States Government Agencies
Scammers around the world are well-aware that several businesses and people are in dire need of economic help as a result of the continuing social-distancing orders. These attackers are taking advantage of such difficult times to pilfer even more money from individuals who are already suffering.
For example, a common scam these days is text messages or emails to recipients pretending to be representatives from Census, IRS, FDIC USCIS, and other United States government agencies. These fake messages may say that you can get cash grants or swift relief payments due to the COVID 19 pandemic or that you are approved for certain amounts of cash. The links in the messages directed the user to a webpage that asked the user to verify their credit card information so that the United States government agency can presumably wire the cash over, resulting in credit card fraud.
Online Shopping Scams
Some of the scammers have created false online stores that claim to sell products that do not currently exist, like vaccinations or cures for the COVID-19, and other items like hand sanitizers and face masks.
A great tip for safeguarding yourself from such scams is to be wary of sellers who request unusual methods of payment like wire transfer, upfront payment through money order, international funds transfer, electronic currency such as Bitcoin, or a preloaded card.
Retirement Allowance Scams
Another scam attempting to take advantage of individuals who are experiencing financial difficulties offers irrelevant services and charges a sizeable fee or attempting to pinch their retirement allowance or pension.
Most of the scams begin with an unexpected phone call that claims to be from a financial service or a retirement pension organization.
In order to request important details about your retirement allowance accounts, the scammers make use of several excuses. Some of these excuses include:
- Making sure that you are not permanently locked out of your retirement allowance account under some newly established rules.
- Offering to assist you in accessing the cash in your account
- Checking whether your account is entitled to several deals or benefits
Always exercise caution and cease communication when these kinds of calls are received or requests are made.
Phishing Impersonation Scams
Phishing scammers pretend to be from well-known, reputable, and real businesses like travel agents, banks, telco companies, and insurance providers. It may even look like it’s coming from a company that you do business with. They make use of several excuses revolving around the COVID-19 pandemic to:
- Entice you into opening malicious attachments or links
- Asking for your financial and personal information
- Seek a payment for a service that is fake in nature or for something that you did not buy
- Creating a sense of urgency that you must act now
In light of the increasing and abundant COVID 19 scams that are surfacing these days, such as those mentioned above, be on guard and be sure to safeguard your personal information.