Corona Virus Scams: a deadly internet threat
The Corona Virus or Covid – 19 first showed its traces in Wuhan, China in 2019. The virus thought of as just flu, soon spread like a wildfire and now has 164,485,007 cases across the world. With rigorous lockdown being imposed and the pause of international trade, the pandemic also took a toll on the economy of the world. Along with the lockdown, people experienced a loss of jobs and thus a loss of income. As people around the world looked for various methods to earn a livelihood, a variety of people started earning through illegal ways and stealing others’ money. A term specifically coined for this is Coronavirus scams.
The Covid-19 virus observed a comparable outbreak of Covid scams whose main target was the older population as they are considerably more vulnerable to scams. Fraudsters or cybercriminals adopt a variety of methods such as cold calls, fraud schemes, fake social media posts, phishing emails, scam text messages, etc. One of the recent scam news that hit the headlines is the vaccination scam. As vaccination became a priority, scammers started cold calling and mass texting people stating that they have early access and can provide the vaccine at a minimum rate or at the earliest. This resulted in many people losing their money all around the world.
With the scammers on a rise, here are some of the Covid scams you must look out for:
Vaccine and Home Remedy Scams
The beginning of the pandemic proved to be a boon to all the scammers as their method of earning became a whole lot easier. These scammers engage in cold calls and text messages stating easy and at-home remedies to cure corona in exchange for a fee. The innocent people, who do not have much knowledge of the virus and the intensity of the pandemic, pay for these bogus remedies and end up losing their hard-earned money to such Covid scams. Various health regulators have published statements and issued warnings against such Covid scams and also published information about how some of the remedies can improve immunity but not cure the virus. In other scams, these fraudsters have also been offering essential supplies such as masks and sanitizers through text messages, ads, and calls.
Identity Thefts and Covid Scams
Another major scam that brushed the headlines was identity theft during the pandemic. In order to encourage other people to get vaccinated, people started posting their vaccination cards or information on social media. This resulted in identity thefts as the cards contain the person’s personal information. Such personal information is stolen from a plethora of people and later put on sale in the dark underbelly of the internet that we fondly call the dark web.
Charity for Corona Scams
A lot of charities have opened up across the world in the time of the pandemic. These charities are an easier way for people to donate money or goods to those who cannot afford basic essentials and necessities.
However, the goodwill behind this has been misused by a lot of cybercriminals. These scammers put up fake charities and claim to send the funds, collected by the charity, to faraway countries. These fraudsters successfully steal a lot of money from innocent people in this method.
The Fake Government Scams
In this type of scam, the fraudsters call the people pretending to be a government authority. This proceeds to the scammer stating a fake excuse to get your personal information or money. These calls were common even before the pandemic; however, it has observed a rise during times of lockdown. The excuses given by the scammers revolve around early registration for the vaccination, Covid check-up, etc.
Banking and Scams
Banking Scams have also been popular before the pandemic; however, the lockdown and the intense spread of the virus has made people a little more vulnerable to the petty scams as the lockdown forbids them from physically going to the banks and checking. Such scams are also conducted through phone calls or SMS where the scammer pretends to be a bank authority and gives a bogus excuse stating that the customer has incurred a loss or trouble has shot up regarding their account. Most of the time, the person might not even receive a call from their bank but still believe in this scam and end up sharing their personal information with a random stranger on the phone.
As the name suggests, these types of scams are often curated to target older people as this generation is believed to be a bit more vulnerable than the rest. The scammers will pretend to be a grandchild in desperate need of money and call the grandparents. These cybercriminals put psychological pressure on the grandparents so that they do not get time to think twice. They usually ask the grandparents to wire the money for travel, food, or medicine.
Covid Help Scam
In this type of scam, the people are bombarded with text messages and calls asking for donations to a Covid Relief Fund. This is an easy method for scammers to earn money as most people readily donate to such relief funds without doing proper research. Another type of scam that gets covered in this category is when the scammer pretends to be a government authority and calls the families to ask for the personal information of the family members who have died due to Covid. The scammers receive personal information in this way.
Some Tips to avoid the Covid Scams:
- One must always do proper research before donating money to any charity or relief fund.
- Avoid picking up calls from random numbers or entertain strangers asking for personal information in any way.
- Your bank will never ask for your personal details over the phone, beware of such scams and make sure your personal information is protected.
- One must not act in panic and send money to anyone pretending to be a close member of the family or a friend. Always think twice before proceeding with any kind of payment.
- Always note that the home remedies would only help in boosting your immunity and not cure Corona. Please seek professional help in case of symptoms.
In these tough times, we must stay strong and stand for each other. The world needs our cooperation to destroy the virus and get things back to normal. We request you to stay extremely cautious of these scammers and stay safe!
If you are scammed by any type of Corona Virus scam, feel free to contact us and we will help in the fund recovery process.