Federal authorities are warning of a surge in new scams preying on fears over Coronavirus COVID 19.
Personally, I have experienced an increase in unsolicited phone calls, fraudulent emails, texts and ads on Facebook in the past week. Scammers include: representatives masquerading as WHO (World Health Organization), CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) and other familiar organizations such as Johns Hopkins University. Security experts also report an upswing of Internet Domain Name registrations that enable “threat actors” to establish and send fraudulent emails that appear fully legitimate to unsuspecting victims.
One text scam in particular touts “Virus Relief! Take 2 of these Gummy Bears to take the edge off this Virus Outbreak. Full Details Here... with a hyperlink to read a 2-minute article”
Don’t fall victim to such scams.
If you do not recognize a number on CallerID, DON’T ANSWER and engage the caller; legitimate callers will leave a message. Also, be aware that even scammers leave messages. This gives you an opportunity to listen to and assess the legitimacy of the caller's message to decide if it’s worth returning the call.
DON’T click on hyperlinks in email or open attachments. If the sender appears familiar to you take the time to contact the sender via phone to confirm they actually sent it.
DON’T disclose personal information such as social security number, credit card number or bank account information over the phone, email, text or through social media.
STOP...PAUSE...and THINK before you act.
When in doubt, contact a family member or personal friend to bounce your concerns. Contact your doctor regarding medical questions. And please feel free to reach back with technical questions about possible scam situations you encounter.
Always report suspected fraud to your local law enforcement agency.
By: Mike McMullen
Edit: Also see recommendations from the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing.