How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Scams
You can be certain that as long as the pandemic continues, criminals will continue to come up with frauds and scams to take advantage of the situation. Fraudsters use all manner of threats and coercion to compel you to take the steps they want. They may contact you via phone, leave mail for you, or even send emails offering you their products or services threatening the loss of certain privileges or benefits. It is important to take steps to protect yourself from COVID-19 scams:
Here are simple steps you can take:
Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Scams by Visiting Authoritative Sources Directly
Spoofing calls or emails appear to be from a legitimate organization. They will have a name and logo that match the legitimate company or agency. They also include a link that leads you to a spoofed website to collect your information, or which causes you to download malicious software onto your device.
To avoid such scams, you can visit authoritative sites directly. This is critical since many scammers take advantage of the pandemic by masquerading as legitimate sources such as the WHO, CDC, IRS, pharmaceutical companies, and other organizations at the front line of the fight against COVID-19.
To protect yourself from COVID-19 scams, exercise caution when you receive requests for information
Scammers often target their victims’ personal or financial information. The goal is to use this information to commit fraud. Take your time to evaluate the messages you receive before taking action. Let the message marinate until you can take the information in without overreacting. This is especially important with messages that demand immediate action to avoid dire consequences. Alternatively, you can just delete the message. Note that scammers often request money through untraceable means such as gift cards, wire transfers, and virtual currencies, which are harder to track. These are a red flag.
Donate Directly to Charitable Causes
Scammers take advantage of people’s desire to help in times of crisis. They may set up spoof websites and send donation requests to unsuspecting victims, leading them to donate to criminals.
If you receive a donation request, you can search for the nonprofit on charitynavigator.com to check whether they are registered. If you have donated to the charity before, do not use the link provided in the email or text. Instead, visit the charity directly and donate through their secure platforms.
Double Check Email Addresses and Links before You Click
Many scammers will send links with spelling errors or additional numbers, but which look very similar to a legitimate site. To read the link address, you can hover above the link without clicking.
Another precaution to take with links and email addresses is to verify the contents of the email by searching online for other people’s encounters. Searches you make could include terms such as “complaint,” “scam” or “reviews”.
Take Steps to Protect Your Accounts
Two-factor authentication is important to protect your accounts from unauthorized access. For instance, you can add your password as the first layer of security, and set up the service you are logging into so it sends a one-time password (OTP) as the second layer of security.
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