COVID-19: Beware Fraudsters During an Uncertain Time
Ron Steinkamp, Jason Buhlinger
The growing pandemic of COVID-19 has caused global disruptions to economies, travel, health care operations and supply chains. Public panic has led to shortages on key home items. The tumult makes the outbreak a clear opportunity for fraudsters.
To cash in on public fears, scammers try to reel in a vulnerable public. Use extra caution when receiving emails, text messages, phone calls, or online notifications and ads pertaining to the novel coronavirus.
- Be on the lookout when someone claims to “prevent, treat, mitigate, diagnose or cure” COVID-19. According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are no such products available.
- Avoid clicking on unsolicited links and attachments. Visit credible websites directly for information about the virus.
- Look out for scammers using fictitious charities to co-opt funds.
- Remain wary of penny stock promotion for companies that claim to have coronavirus treatments. Swindlers will use the false information to pump up stock cost and turn a profit before values fall.
- Understand there are third-party buyer and seller scams, and they occur on legitimate sites such as Walmart and Amazon.
To learn more about recent scams related to the COVID-19 outbreak and how to avoid them, check out this recent article in the Association of Certified Fraud Examiner’s Fraud Magazine.