Image description

The COVID-19 pandemic is fueling a parallel surge of coronavirus scams, many of which are aimed at senior citizens.

Nearly 657,000 customer complaints about COVID-19 and stimulus payments had been filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), with 73 percent of them including fraud or identity theft. Consumers have lost a total of $636.7 million as a result of these frauds, with an average loss of $400.

Criminals are employing a complete range of scam tools — phishing emails and texts, phony social media posts, robocalls, impostor schemes, and more — as well as closely monitoring the news, adjusting their themes, and tactics as new medical and economic crises emerge.

False cures and vaccine promises

Scammers have been bombarding consumers with advertisements for fraudulent therapies since the outbreak began, and they haven't stopped despite the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and federally approved treatments.

According to the FBI, con artists are promoting bogus COVID-19 antibody tests in the hopes of gathering personal information for identity theft or health insurance fraud. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued scores of warnings to companies selling unlicensed COVID-19 cures or preventions.

Teas, essential oils, cannabinol, colloidal silver, and intravenous vitamin-C therapies are among the remedies promoted as pandemic defenses in clinics, on websites, social media, and television shows.

Fraudulent financial transactions

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Congress has passed three economic relief packages, providing stimulus checks, increased unemployment benefits, small business support, and other forms of assistance to tens of millions of Americans. This has spawned a slew of scams to steal aid funds. According to the Secret Service, which established a national coordinator for pandemic fraud recovery activities in December 2021, criminals had siphoned approximately $100 billion from federal relief programs.

With economic concern at an all-time high, con artists are posing as banks and lenders and offering phony assistance with bills, credit card debt, and student loan forgiveness. Small businesses are also being targeted, with scammers contacting owners with false promises of assisting them in obtaining federal disaster loans or improving their Google search results.

Stock frauds have also emerged as a result of the pandemic. The Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States has issued a warning to investors regarding con artists pushing investments in companies that claim to be able to prevent, detect, or cure diseases. COVID-19. According to the experts, if you buy those stocks now, they will skyrocket in value.

Scams involving phishing and spoofing

Email phishing and associated scams have been a key part of what the FBI's Online Crime Complaint Center has dubbed an "internet crime spree" spurred by a pandemic.

According to a March 2021 analysis by Palo Alto Networks, a cybersecurity firm, cybercrooks registered tens of thousands of COVID-related fake web domains in the first year of the epidemic. Hundreds of these questionable sites have been shut down by the Justice Department, which offers personal protective equipment, relief funds, vaccines, and other aid under the guise of official entities or humanitarian organizations.

Scams involving the coronavirus and how to avoid them

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Online offers for coronavirus treatments or speedier vaccine availability should be avoided. They aren't genuine.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Be skeptical of emails, phone calls, and social media posts offering "free" COVID-19 examinations or government-ordered COVID-19 tests. A list of approved tests and testing businesses can be found on the FDA website.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Even if the email address appears like a corporation or person you know, don't click on links or download anything from unexpected emails. Text messages and strange websites are the same way.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Responding to an unsolicited call, text, or email with personal information such as Social Security, Medicare, or credit card numbers is not a good idea.