The COVID pandemic has been a part of our daily lives and routine for more than a year now. We’re all eager to get back to some type of normalcy.
More than ever, we have had to be on the lookout for scams and fraud, fueled by the digital acceleration that took place last year and continues well into 2021. You can bet that these individuals are continuing to find new ways to prey on individuals when they are most vulnerable.
To help you stay safe, here is a list of some of the most popular scams that we should continue to on the lookout for:
1. THE “TO GOOD TO BE TRUE” COVID SOLUTION:
With the distribution of vaccines underway and wider availability of rapid COVID-19 testing, Experian expects that fraudsters will continue to find opportunities to capitalize on anxious and vulnerable consumers and businesses. Everyone needs to be vigilant against fraudsters using the promise of at-home test kits, vaccines and treatments as means for sophisticated phishing attacks, telemarketing fraud and social engineering schemes.
2. STIMULAS FRAUD ACTIVITY, ROUND #3:
Many Americans remain out of work and continue to struggle to make ends meet. The past government-issued stimulus funds were a welcome relief and now the federal government is promising another round of relief checks. Experian predicts fraudsters will take advantage of additional stimulus funding by using stolen data from consumers to intercept stimulus or unemployment payments.
3. FAKE DELIVERY:
Since many of us shopped more than ever online, last year was a big year for delivery of items such as clothes, toys, gifts, food. So far, this has continued well into 2021 and shows no signs of slowing down.
Delivery scams are targeting the tracking of these deliveries. Asking for personal details to ‘verify’ the recipients is a common way to get information that could be used by these scammers. Going directly to the delivery service’s website is often the best way to evaluate whether the tracking message you got was a scam or not. But above all, treat all such texts as potential scams – almost all delivery services do not require personal details for a tracking link.
4. THE EMPLOYMENT SCAM:
Be wary of web sites, robocalls or job links that seem too good to be true, especially if they require an initial outlay of money for employment before receiving a salary.
This seems to have been around since the creation of the internet and email, but it’s still many scammers’ “go-to” tool.
Tens of thousands of new website domains have been registered with terms related to COVID-19 and the response to it, such as "quarantine," "vaccine" and "CDC," FinCEN says. The Justice Department has shut down hundreds of these suspect sites, which promise vaccines and other aid, often in the guise of government agencies or humanitarian organizations.
If you connect with one of those malicious domains, you could start getting phishing emails from fraudsters in an attempt either to plant malware on your computer or to get your personal information.
Visit trusted web sites such as the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization when you’re trying to follow the latest developments in vaccines and treatments.
If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it's a robocall. If you’re getting a lot of robocalls trying to sell you something, odds are the calls are illegal so hang up and don’t share any personal information.
6 -- Federal Trade Commission
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