scammers

Beware of Scammers During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Federal Trade Commission says there are a number of scam robocalls that consumers should be on the lookout for

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As Covid-19 cases increase, so do the attempts by scammers to get your money and personal information.

The Federal Trade Commission had provided examples of scam robocalls that consumers should look out for.

In one example the caller says, "This is a call from the Social Security Administration. During these difficult times of coronavirus we regret to inform you we have gotten an order to suspend your socials immediately within 24 hours."

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Scammers are using robocalls to profit from coronavirus related fears. Criminals are targeting small business owners, scaring them into buying bogus online listing services. They're also going after seniors, trying to sell them fake coronavirus tests and products.

In another scam robocall example on the FTC website, the caller says, "Because of the limited testing we are first taking medicare members. Will the free at home tests be just for you or for you and your spouse?"

If you do get one of these calls, the FTC advises you to hang up and not to press any numbers if you're asked to do so.

You should also consider using a call blocking app or device or you can reach out to your phone provider to ask about call blocking tools. If you get a call, report it on the FTC website.

And, it's not just phone calls you should be leary of.

"Whether it's phone, text, email or social media, please stop and think before you provide information, financial or otherwise, or even click on a link," Paula Fleming of the Better Business Bureau said.

These scammers are trying to get your personal information or trick you into downloading malware to your devices, which opens you up to identity theft and ransomware attacks.

The Better Business Bureau has also heard from people who have lost money ordering fake Covid-19 testing kits, face masks and home cures from fraudulent sites.

"There are work at home scams transpiring for people who have been laid off," Fleming said. "Scam artists are very smart targeting people who are online. Most of us are quarantined in our homes 24/7, so we're apt to be online most of the time and they know that."

If you think you're getting a legitimate offer for a job or product, go directly to that company's website to check it out. And you should never click on links from sources you don't know. For accurate and updated information on Covid-19, go directly to the CDC and WHO websites.

And the stimulus checks from the Federal Government are coming. But remember that the government will not contact you asking for your social security number, bank account or credit card information. And, you do not need to fill out an application to receive your check. So, any text or email asking you to do so is not legitimate.

Experts say scammers will attempt to separate you from your stimulus in the coming week and recommend treating every call or email with suspicion. If you have questions, go right to the source.

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