As concerns about COVID-19 increased, fraudsters quickly took advantage of the uncertainty and limited information about the situation. As a result, they have generated a number of coronavirus fraud cases targeting vulnerable populations around the world.
From January to June 22, 2020 is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 54,292 coronavirus fraud reports. The FTC estimates that these financial scams cost Americans $ 69 million with an average loss of $ 288.
With the advent of financial fraud during the shutdown of COVID-19, we want to help you learn more about it COVID-19 and your financesand how you can protect yours Investments. We've put together the main fraud formats used during the pandemic, how to spot financial fraud, and tips on how to be sure and maintain yours recognition.
Coronavirus fraud formats
According to the FTC reports, Americans between the ages of 40 and 59 lost the most money – 42 percent of the total loss from coronavirus fraud. Far fewer cases of people over 80 have been reported, but this population reports the highest median loss of $ 450.
The most commonly reported cases of coronavirus fraud involve product offerings related to vacation and online shopping – more than 25,000 reported cases. Vacation fraud alone caused a loss of $ 24 million. Text messaging, Internet information services, and health products complete the five most common coronavirus scams, but cause significantly less financial loss. Below are other common coronavirus scam tactics to watch out for.
The announcement that eligible Americans would receive $ 1,200 stimulus checks brought a new opportunity for financial fraud. Fraudsters masquerading as government officials request fees or personal information for processing Stimulus checks.
How to avoid: You should only give the IRS information directly about irs.gov/coronavirus. The IRS will never contact you by phone or request payment of your check.
Price reduction is the process of artificially inflating prices to make profits in times of crisis. This was common at the start of COVID-19 quarantine – especially when individuals bought a plethora of paper products, water, and hand sanitizers in hopes of being resold.
How to avoid: The shops regularly fill up the bare essentials. So wait and don't support anyone who makes discounts. Report any person you suspect may be distorting the price to the attorney general.
People are looking for ways to help in times of crisis, and fraudsters are quick to take advantage of this generosity. If you're asked to donate to a specific purpose, do research to ensure that your gift goes to a reputable charity.
How to avoid: It is safest to donate with you Credit cardand you should never donate with gift cards or wire transfer.
Fake test kits
Due to the shortage of tests, fraudsters saw the opportunity to market counterfeit test kits online and in person. Not only is this a scam to get your personal information, it is also a real health risk.
How to avoid: Contact your doctor for information about COVID-19 tests and vet pop-up test sites through your local health office.
Fraudsters pose as CDC and WHO
Fraudsters have started looking for information by pretending to be a disease control center and World Health Organization.
How to avoid: Never click on a link in a suspicious email and check it coronavirus.gov for the latest COVID-19 information.
Other common fraud formats
Financial fraud is nothing new, and coronavirus fraud is the same game that scammers have been playing for decades, only in a new package. Find out more about these common fraud formats and report suspicious requests to the FTC.
Thousands of phishing attacks are sent out via email and SMS every day and are getting better every year. Most people think they never fall for it, but the FBI has reported it $ 57 million was lost in phishing scams These messages appear to be from a company or person you trust. It is therefore important to read them carefully. They are often fairly general and claim that there is an urgent mistake in your accounts. You will be asked to send personal information and use a suspicious email address.
Money mule fraud
These scams are one way to transfer stolen money from one person to another. The essence is that the scammer sends you a check, you deposit it, then transfer money or send gift cards to someone else. The check jumps often and you are on the hook for the money. Never send money to collect money and avoid job offers to transfer money.
Pyramid schemes are presented as a way for you to be your own boss and run your own business, but it is all a scam for you to deposit into the company. If you are hired to join, you will be asked to pay in advance to cover your business expenses and then asked to sell the product you purchased at a profit. Money always flows up the pyramid to help those at the top, and those below are advised to continue to recruit and generate entry fees. Ponzi systems and multi-level marketing activities are examples of pyramid systems.
These scams are believed to be credible and anyone can fall victim to them. Here are some things you can do to make sure.
Check suspicious emails carefully
Phishing emails often use logos and similar addresses to people and companies you know. Look for tricky characters in email addresses and suspicious language that encourage you to send personal information, payments, or gift cards.
Do not click links from unknown senders
If you receive text or an email from someone you don't know and who seems suspicious, do not click links in the message. These links will take you to fake websites that seem familiar to you so that you can share personal information. The link can also infect your computer with malware that can collect sensitive information.
Do not share confidential information on the phone
Reputable companies will not call you and ask for personal information over the phone. If you receive a request from your bank that there is a problem with your account, it is best to hang up and visit your bank in person or call them directly. These calls are usually robots and only provide vague details about your account.
Check out all the charities you are interested in
When prompted to donate to a charity that requests cash or gift cards, you can immediately mark it as Amounted to. If you're not sure which charity you want to donate to, there are plenty of resources online that you can use to make a responsible donation. Charity Navigator and Charity watch are great ways to check a charity's accountability, transparency, and use of money.
Fraudsters are good at what they do – they constantly refine their scams and use moments when people are most vulnerable. The best way to protect you and your money is to learn how to identify financial fraud. Monitor your accountsand report suspicious behavior to the Federal Trade Commission.
Swell: FTC COVID-19 report (5/12) | FTC fraud | FTC scam 2 | FTC test kit | FTC phishing emails | FBI | FTC Money Mule | FTC Top Frauds of 2019 | Investopedia | Tip top security