From stimulus checks fraud attempts to suspicious offers and malware, fraudulent activity and potential scams related to COVID-19 have been on the rise during the pandemic. We've compiled some great information on these scams and included some tips on
how to identify and avoid falling for a potential scam.
If you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee, or charge of any kind, including
the purchase of gift cards, please do not respond. These are scams. Do not give out your PayPal account information, Social Security number, bank account number or anything else if someone claims such information is essential to sign you up for a
stimulus check relating to the coronavirus pandemic. Please contact the FBI at www.ic3.gov so that the scammers can be tracked and stopped.
The Warning Signs:
If you don't have your tax refunds direct-deposited, beware of new and evolving phishing schemes that can target you in particular. If somebody you don't know offers to input your direct deposit or other banking information into the secure portal on your
behalf, they're likely trying to commit financial fraud.
The IRS is creating a secure portal on IRS.gov in mid-April so that tax payers can provide correct direct deposit information. If the IRS doesn't have your direct
deposit information, it will be sending a check to the address they have on file.
Look out for suspicious offers and never order anything from an unverified vendor. If the offer or discount looks too good to be true, it usually is. Always be vigilant and find and evaluate reviews about the vendor.
Masks and other high-demand products
Watch out for scams that involve products that are in high demand, but whose availability is severely limited. A fraudulent website can be offering scarce or discounted products like face masks since face masks are scarce. By purchasing the mask, you
could be falling for a phishing attack and exposing your sensitive personal and payment data to the fraudsters.
Fake testing kits
Fraudsters are offering either fake or non-existent coronavirus testing kits under the guise of medical officials with the necessary certification for their products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down heavily on these sellers
and has issued warnings that it has not authorized any tests that could be purchased by people to test themselves.
The World Health Organization (WHO) or national healthcare organizations make ideal targets for fraudsters to impersonate. An example of their tactics would be to contact you via email asserting that the attachment contains pertinent information
to help protect you from the disease. The attachments may contain a Trojan virus designed to steal your personal data.
Late payments and urgent orders
Scammers are offering COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. However, the services are unapproved and illegitimate. Fraudsters are targeting beneficiaries in a number of ways, including
telemarketing calls, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits.
These scammers use the coronavirus pandemic to benefit themselves, and beneficiaries face potential harms. The personal information collected can be used to fraudulently bill Federal health care programs and commit medical identity theft. If Medicare
or Medicaid denies the claim for an unapproved test, the beneficiary could be responsible for the cost.
How to stay safe:
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