Unfortunately, even during a crisis there are unscrupulous people who use fear and misinformation to try to enrich themselves. Although anyone could become a victim of a scam at any time it is common for scammers to target senior citizens and to use a crisis like the corona virus pandemic to separate honest people from their money. Here are a few things to look out for in order to protect yourself.
Fake charities: When a major event happens, it’s natural to look for ways to help. Unfortunately, scammers use these events to take advantage of your generosity. Some scammers use names that sound very similar to names of real charities. It is always a good idea to do some research before giving.
Emails, texts and phishing scams: Scammers use fake emails or texts to get you to share information like account numbers, Social Security numbers, or login IDs and passwords. They use your information to steal your money, your identity, or both. Scammers will often use familiar company names or pretend to be someone you know.
Robocalls: Scammers are using robocalls to sell fake Corona virus treatments or to put you on a fake waiting list for a vaccine that doesn’t exist. If you get one of these calls hang up. Do not press any numbers even though it might say pressing a number will remove you from the list, in reality this may lead to more robocalls.
Misinformation: Scammers, and sometimes even well-intentioned people, share information that may not be true. Before you pay someone or share your personal information, do some fact checking by contacting trusted sources.
If you have been a victim of a scam or believe you have spotted a scam you can report it to the federal trade commission. The Federal Trade Commission is the nation's consumer protection agency and can helps stop these types of scams and frauds. To file a complaint, go to ftc.gov/complaint or call 1-877-FTC-help.