The number of COVID-19 scams that have been spreading all across the world has been quite staggering owing ot the very fact that these fraudulent people have found a way to scam you out of the blue. The Federal Trade commission has reported that COVID related scame have cost Americans more than $13.4 million this year. Owing to the humongous numbers of phishing emails every day with criminals trying to steal money and personal information, it is now a fact that you need to stay safe and aware of these fraudulent practices on a constant basis. More than 40,000 domains have been registered under the name “coronavirus”.
People are often getting scam calls as well. In total, Americans lost over $19.7 billion over scam calls one in 2019. With COVID-19 just raming up the process, the process is expected to get higher and higher in the upcoming days. The sad part is that a lot of people often let scammers and cybercriminals take advantage of this very process and get the better of us.
Blood and saliva from ‘COVID survivors’
If you’re someone who wants immunity via COVID antibodies and you keep searching around the Dark Web, you might find blood and saliva samples from a “coronavirus survivor” and wonder at its possibilities at one go. Could it be true, that these bodily fluids for sale in an online marketplace will bolster your body against COVID?
It’s a hoax. You’ll never see the blood and even if it was true, other people’s blood may be tainted with diseases, such as Hepatitis and HIV. Talk to your doctor instead.
Expedited stimulus checks
Most Americans can expect a small boost from the government. Although the stimulus bill was slow to pass and even slower to make its way to your bank account, the best thing you can do is budget and wait. You may receive authentic-sounding email offers and phone calls to expedite payment or even increase the amount on your check.
The IRS has a site for you to check on your payment status. If you’re getting the “Payment Status Not Available” message at the IRS site, there might be 3 reasons behind it. If one of those reasons is that you did not file your taxes in 2018 or 2019, the IRS has a special website to get your relief payment.
Fake coronavirus miracle cures
A lot of people promise fake cures regarding the coronavirus crisis and sad but true, many still fall for it. Still, it may be tempting to believe that big pharma is suppressing a vaccine or there is some magic pill that might reduce the COVID-19’s effects on the body. Unless the advice comes from a health care professional or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention itself, ignore it. People are falling for these “cures” in a big way, and it’s downright dangerous.
Tech support scams
You’re bound to run into tech problems working from home. Since you probably don’t want experts inside your home to fix the problem as there might be lot of issues surrounding, you may be at the mercy of online or telephone tech support. Do not Google search a company’s tech support line. Scammers are hoping you’ll do just that and fall into their trap.
At the end, to be safe just double-check the number and make sure the number you dial is the real number and not some fake one. Go to the company’s official web site and get the phone number from the Contact Us section. There are lots of phishing schemes out there, designed by hackers who want to access personal information and commandeer your network.*
With so many people communicating through Zoom and other video chats, we are now relying on our webcams more than ever. Be careful of any webcam you own, and consider covering it up when it’s not in use. A piece of black electrical tape works well.
You might get an email with a subject line that contains your password. When you open the email, a threatening message claiming to be from a hacker says that your webcam has been compromised and that they’ve caught you in a moment of intimacy. Now, it’s time to pay up in Bitcoin so that the transaction cannot be traced, or else the hacker will expose you publicly.
That password is one compromised in a data breach. Don’t pay the hacker. Delete the email and if you’re still using the same password at different sites, change it now.
Government-issued online coronavirus tests
Coronavirus tests are in short supply, and many people are eager to find one. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first at-home test, a nasal swab said to be safe and accurate. That said, if you find any such vendor selling “coronavirus tests” online, this is almost certainly a scam and it is advised never to fall for it. You should always consult a physician before taking the test and follow the instructions closely.
If you’re following the news, you know how unpredictable the economy is at this moment. While the stock market is bucking, investment fraud is rampant, seducing eager moneymakers with “guaranteed returns” and other optimistic wording. Scammers often strive for the most realistic scenarios, like raising money for a company that manufactures medical masks.
Fake bosses and co-workers
From a hacker’s perspective, the working-from-home economy is the perfect chance to break into a network, take over an email account, and send real-sounding messages to employees. When you get a strange message, it is often way tougher to verify when workers are geographically spread out and everyone is worried about layoffs. Hackers may also impersonate your company’s help desk, requesting passwords for “verification.” Even if a request sounds legitimate, confirm details by phone.
Phony small business loan sites
Small business owners are struggling and scammers know the Payroll Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan processes can be difficult to navigate. An audience from my show was recently taken by a fake Small Business Administration site that took a “down payment” to help him get a government loan. The only place where you should apply for government assistance for your small business is at SBA.gov.
One of the most outrageous scams are donation scams. Fake charities abound in times of crisis and the pandemic is no different. Crowdsourcing platforms are lifesaving when they’re hosted by actual charities, but they can dupe a lot of well-meaning people into handing their money to criminals. Before you donate any money, check the charity’s rating.
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