The coronavirus outbreak has caused a lot of understandable confusion. And wherever there’s confusion, there are also scammers trying to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. The following are some of the most common coronavirus scams. Keep them in mind to protect yourself and your business against fraudsters.
This is a common scam during disasters. The criminals may use a made-up charity or pretend to act on behalf of a legitimate one. If you are interested in donating, do your own research to find a legitimate charity for a cause you care about. These organizations can help you research charities.
Some of the red flags that should put you on alert include the following:
- They ask for donations in cash, gift cards or money wire.
- They’ll try to rush you into making a donation
- They guarantee sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a donation (this is also illegal)
Scammers are using the Economic Impact Payments, a stimulus rolled out by the IRS, to target victims, retirees in particular.
This strategy consists in sending text messages, emails, or social media messages asking for personal information, claiming that the details are necessary to speed up the payment. They may also ask you to check your Economic Impact Payment to someone else.
FDIC and Banks
In this case, people supposedly calling from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or your bank, tell you that your ability to withdraw funds may be compromised and ask for your personal information. The FIDC has stated that they don’t establish unsolicited communications to ask for sensitive details. You can contact the FIDC using their contact center: 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342).
Vaccines and Treatments
Scammers also offer test kits or miracle cures against the coronavirus. Due to its unprecedented nature, there’s no coronavirus vaccine available yet. As for the test kits, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reminds consumers that at the moment there’s no approved test to be completely used and processed at home.
A final note of caution about coronavirus scams: If you detect a scam attempt, don’t engage the sender/caller, and contact law enforcement immediately.
At the Greater Riverside Hispanic Chamber of Commerce we are committed to supporting small businesses and economic development with information, advocacy, business referrals, marketing opportunities, training programs, student internships and scholarships.