Coronavirus scams to keep an eye out for when shopping online.
Coronavirus scams are spreading almost as quickly as the virus itself. Even though more people are shopping online due to COVID-19, fraudsters never sleep. Con people are now using the pandemic as an excuse to trick people out of their cash.
Criminals are going to the extent of impersonating trusted organizations like WHO and CDC just to get you to part with your coins. These fraudsters are going all out and using a full range of techniques including phishing emails and texts, phony social media ads, robocalls, impostor schemes, and more.
Since shopping online is almost unavoidable these days, you must do your best to avoid falling for some of these sophisticated COVID scammers. Many of these cons are designed to get you to give away your cash or your personal information.
Some of the most common Coronavirus scams that you’ll come across online include:
Scams asking you to apply for COVID-19 financial relief.
These are some of the most common scams. They come in the shape of fake emails, that look as though there are from a legitimate organization offering a chance to apply for financial relief for COVID. These emails contain links that will steal your sensitive personal and financial information.
Don’t be surprised when you receive an email telling you that you’ve recently been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID. These types of emails are referred to as phishing emails. They are designed to direct you to a fake website that will either harvest your personal and financial details or infect your device with debilitating malware. Some phony websites and fake email campaigns are also promising to give people early access to vaccine shots. Don’t fall for this.
The Get-Rich-Quick-With-Bitcoin scam.
There are lots of lockdown investment opportunities being advertised out there. However, most are fake investment opportunities that catch your attention when you are aimlessly scrolling through social media sites.
These ads encourage unsuspecting victims to take advantage of the financial downturn happening due to the pandemic. Some of these get-rich schemes involve Bitcoin platforms that ask you to invest in fake companies with fake websites.
The buy stocks now scam.
If you have always wanted to invest, be careful about what you interact with online. Scammers are targeting investors with amazing investments in companies specializing in products that can apparently prevent, detect or cure COVID-19. Buy those stocks now, the tipsters say, and they will soar in price.
This type of penny-stock fraud is commonly referred to as “pump and dump.” The con artist that’s trying to bait you may have already bought the stocks, typically for a dollar or less.
As the hype grows and the stock price increases, they dump the stock, saddling other investors with big losses. To protect yourself, ignore phone calls or emails from strangers advising you to invest in a hot new stock from a company working on coronavirus-related products or services.
Coronavirus cure scams.
These health scams are also quite popular. Some sellers are peddling coronavirus test kits, face masks, and sanitizers. Most of these products, especially face masks, are designed to stand out and catch your attention such as gold or diamond-studded face masks. These sellers will simply take your cash but your luxury face mask will not be delivered in this lifetime.
You should also be wary of any products that claim to treat or prevent coronavirus. Any Teas, essential oils, CBD products, or intravenous Vitamin-C therapies that are being hawked as treatments in any clinics and on websites, social media, and television shows are all fake and you’ll do good to stay away from them.
Con artists are also advertising fake COVID-19 antibody tests in hopes of collecting your personal information, which can then be used in identity theft or health insurance scams. If there’s a medical discovery, you’re probably not going to get wind of it for the first time from an online ad or a social media post.
Open this attachment scam.
This one is also a public health scam but unlike most of the others, it doesn’t involve a link. Instead, it comes as an attachment, usually in the form of a note from a friend suggesting you read the contents immediately because it has useful information on how to protect yourself from COVID-19.
However, clicking the file from this impersonator might install malicious software, also called malware, that lets cybercriminals have access to your data lifted from your keystrokes. If this doesn’t happen, the file could also unleash coronavirus-related ransomware that locks your computer’s files until you pay the thieves to release them.
Donate to a fake charity.
Charity scams usually pop up each year mainly around the holidays when people are shopping online and are generally in a giving mood. After all, if you can donate money that will go towards homeless or needy kids during the holidays, why not?.
Fraudsters will go to great lengths to ensure these fake charities are a legitimate charity. They’ll even set up a legitimate website all designed to steal your money by pulling tugging at your heartstrings. These scammers will use fake websites to get you to make “donations” through PayPal. However, it will be for a non-existent charity.
Before you donate to any charity, just make sure to do your research especially when dealing with an organization you’re unfamiliar with. Real charities are usually listed on nonprofit databases so they’ll be easy to find.
When shopping online, it’s essential to be cautious. If something looks fishy or sounds too good to be true, just ignore it. While most people have banded together through the complex challenges of the pandemic, opportunistic individuals are taking the chance to prey on gullible victims. So be careful at all times.
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