During this time of uncertainty, knowing about scams that are happening is a good first step toward preventing them. Again, some are new and some you have likely seen before.
Here are a few to be aware of:
- Officials have seen an increase in scams related to vaccines, test kits, treatments and air filter systems, claiming to remove COVID-19 from the air. At this time, there is neither a vaccine nor a cure for this virus. If you receive a phone call, email, text message, or letter with someone trying to sell you any of these items–it’s a scam.
- Thieves are using COVID for charity related scams, when a thief poses as a real charity, or makes up a charity, to get money from you. Be wary of any organization calling you asking for donations. If you are able to help financially, seek out a charity you have already vetted. Always be cautious if you get a call out of nowhere, asking for money.
- Scammers are using this pandemic to pose as a relative or friend claiming to be ill, stranded in another state or foreign country, or otherwise in trouble, asking you to send money. They may ask you to send cash or buy gift cards quickly and secretly. Before you ever send money, hang up and call that person’s phone number directly to see if the story checks out. You may also want to call a different friend or relative to verify the caller’s story.
- While local Social Security Administration (SSA) offices have been closed to the public due to COVID-19 concerns, SSA will not suspend or decrease Social Security benefit payments or Supplemental Security Income payments due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Thieves may mislead people into believing they need to provide personal information or pay by gift card, wire transfer, internet currency, or by mailing cash to maintain regular benefit payments during this period. This is a scam.
The bottom line is, your best defense is to just say NO if:
- Anyone contacts you and asks for your Social Security number, bank account number, credit card information or driver’s license number.
- Anyone contacts you asking for any other personally identifiable information by phone, in person, by text message, or email.
- Someone you don’t know contacts you and requests money for charity, services or a cause.
Most importantly, trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. And if you aren’t sure, you can call us for a second opinion. We are always here to help.