Scammers often capitalize on fear, and the coronavirus outbreak is no exception. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are warning against a surge in coronavirus scams that can be difficult to spot.
Here are some of the most prevalent coronavirus scams:
The fake funding scam. In this scam, victims receive bogus emails, text messages, or social media posts asking them to donate to a research team on the verge of a drug and/or vaccine for COVID-19. Unfortunately, any money donated to these “funds” will go to scammers.
The bogus health agency. Scammers are sending alerts appearing to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the WHO. These emails have the logo of the agencies that allegedly sent them, as well as a similar URL, making victims believe they are sent by legitimate agencies.
The phony purchase order. Scammers hack the computer systems at medical treatment centers to obtain information about outstanding orders for face masks and other supplies. The scammers then send the buyer a phony purchase order listing the requested supplies and demanding payment. The buyer wires payment directly into the scammer’s account.
- Keep the anti-malware and antivirus software on your computer current and strengthen the security settings on your devices
- Practice responsible internet usage
- Never download attachments from unknown sources or click on links embedded in an email from an unknown sender
- Do not share sensitive information online
- Verify a site’s authenticity by checking the URL for the lock icon and the “s” after “http”
- Stay updated on the latest news about the coronavirus to avoid falling prey to misinformation
Spotting the scams
Scammers give themselves away when they ask for payment via specific means, including wire transfer or prepaid gift card. Another giveaway is poor writing skills and misspelled words. “Breaking information” alerts allegedly sent by health agencies are another sign of a scam.
Remember, TruMark Financial will never contact you to ask for your online banking login, password, or other personal identifying information. If you are unsure if a phone call or email is genuine, please call our Member Service Center at 1-877-TRUMARK. Visit the credit union’s fraud awareness page to learn more, https://www.trumarkonline.org/our-story/fraud-awareness/.