Scammers are using the coronavirus pandemic to exploit the panic, fear, and uncertainty surrounding the virus to con people out of their money. The latest in a string of coronavirus scams involves a simple text message with criminal intent.
Here’s what you need to know:
The scam starts out with the victim receiving an alarming text message informing them someone they’ve recently been in contact with is infected with COVID-19. They are then told to self-quarantine and get tested for the virus.
Here is the actual text from one of these scams:
“Someone who came in contact with you tested positive or has shown symptoms for COVID-19 & recommends you self-isolate/get tested.”
The text also includes a link for the recipient to click for more information. Many unsuspecting people who read these messages innocently click on the link and play right into the scammers’ hands. The link provides the scammer with access to the victim’s device. They can then scrape the victim’s personal information off the phone and use it to empty the victim’s accounts, open lines of credit in their name, or even steal their identity.
If you receive a text message like the one described above, do not respond or click on any embedded links. Report the text to local law enforcement agencies, place the number associated with the message on your phone’s “block number” list, and delete the message. You can also warn your friends about the circulating scam to keep them from falling victim.