COVID-19: Types of Scams to Look Out for During this Vulnerable Time

COVID-19: Types of Scams to Look Out for During this Vulnerable Time

Casey Stoneman
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March 26th, 2020
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Reading Time: 3 Minutes
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As we find ourselves in an unprecedented time with respect to COVID-19; Atlantic Bay wants to take this opportunity to provide a resource for consumers to help them identify and avoid potential scams. With the anxiety that comes with the COVID-19 virus, fraudsters may attempt to take advantage of consumers with scams that appear informative or that offer products or services to consumers during this time.

Types of Scams to Look Out For:

Online sellers claiming to have high-demand products, such as toilet paper, cleaning products, and medical supplies, when they don’t.

Always know who you are buying from. Before providing your personal information or payment information to anyone online, you should always make sure that the company is legitimate and reputable.

Fake Charities

During a time when many people are losing their jobs and are unable to work, scammers may attempt to take advantage of individuals who are trying to donate and help those who have been affected. You should always research the Charity or Organization online before providing your personal and payment information.

Fake Emails, Texts, and Phishing Attempts

With social distancing becoming a reality across the world, there are more people working from home and electronically connected now more than ever. Fraudsters will attempt to scam consumers with fake emails and texts that appear to be from a company you know or trust, such as a bank or retail company, and will try to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment.

Other Common Scams

Identity Fraud

Identify fraud involves the fraudster wrongfully obtaining someone’s personal information and using this information to illegally obtain credit.

Elderly Financial Exploitation

This type of fraud involves an individual, either a stranger or a family member or friend, who takes advantage of an older individual for financial gain or benefit.

Robocalls

A robocall call is an automated message instead of a live person who calls you and attempts to sell you something. Common, well-known robocall schemes are fraudsters who pose as a legitimate company, such as the IRS or Social Security Administration, stating that you owe money and must provide payment immediately. It is a good rule of thumb to assume that if you receive any type of call that is asking for your personal information or payment information, it’s a scam.

How to Identify & Prevent a Scam

  • If you have any questions surrounding mortgage-related information you are receiving by other companies, please reach out to your mortgage banker to help answer any questions or evaluate options for your mortgage needs.
  • Place a Fraud Alert on your Credit Report Placing a fraud alert on your credit report can reduce the likelihood that you will be the victim of identity theft and could help prevent new accounts being wrongfully opened in your name. This requires creditors who check your credit to take steps to verify your identity before a new account is established.
  • Update your computer and software on a regular basis.
  • Encrypt devices
  • Require passwords
  • Use multi-factor authentication whenever possible

Additional information on recent scams, how to identify attempts by fraudsters, or to report a scam/fraud attempt, please visit: the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commision.

For more than 23 years Atlantic Bay has been dedicated to giving back to our communities. That dedication will continue through this time of uncertainty and in the months to follow. We encourage everyone to stay safe and following the guidance from the CDC during this time.