When there is a sense of threat or vulnerability in the world, there are often a handful of folks who like to take advantage of those who might be at risk. At the moment, during the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us are at risk, however the key when it comes to managing risk is through knowing how to safeguard yourself, your family, and your resources from health scams.
It is important for you to be aware of what is going on when it comes to the latest COVID-19 health scams. After all, awareness is often your best defense against threat! This is why we have compiled some of the main scams that have been exposed during this time.
As the Anti-Fraud News, we are here to expose the truth and equip you in the scams of our time. Take a look at some of the scams you need to be aware of, where you can report these and avoid being taken for a ride.
What Are The Current Health Scams?
There are a few health scams currently plaguing people across the globe. Here we discuss some of the most prominent.
Medical Equipment Counterfeits
Scammers are creating fake businesses, social media accounts, and medical supply products including masks, hand sanitizers, and much more.
Fake Cures & Treatments
Not only are scammers claiming to have found cures and treatments for the COVID-19 virus, but they are advertising and selling these counterfeit cures and treatments. They are also offering fake information and advice based on unofficial testing and door to door checks.
Cyber Crimes Through Email & Phishing
One of the easiest ways cyber criminals get access to your personal information is through email and phishing. What do we mean by that exactly? Let us explain.
According to The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Western Virginia, “Scammers are also creating and manipulating mobile apps designed to track the spread of COVID-19 to insert malware that will compromise users’ devices and personal information.”
Be aware of emails claiming to be an official health site, government facility and other types of officials (such as the World Health Organization as well). Make sure the sites you visit are official, for example the governmental sites usually end with “.gov” and other official sites might be “.org” instead of “.com”.
During times of global crisis, there are often conspiracy theories flying around social media and other communication channels. It is important to be aware of where the sources of all the information you’re exposed to are rooted. Do more research into theories that claim to be true around the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fraudulent Phone Calls
Scammers are phoning people and demanding payment for COVID-19 treatments done for close relatives or people you might know. These scammers will pretend to be medical staff members or even debt collectors and other types of “officials”.
Fake Nonprofits & Charities Asking For Donations
The health scammers are pretending to be charities looking to assist the needy through the Covid-19 crisis. They are requesting donations on the promise of helping others, however this is not the case.
How Do I Protect Myself?
There are a number of ways to protect yourself and loved ones against health scams. We have listed a few below:
- Understand that if there was a cure or an official treatment for the virus, you wouldn’t hear about it through your emails, through advertisements, or even through your phone and social media. You would hear about it directly from your government and licensed news channels in your areas.
- Be wary of who you give out your personal information to, especially your medical aid details.
- Don’t just let anyone into your home to test for COVID-19 or take just anyone’s advice. If you’re uncertain, it is better to call your medical doctor, who you trust or visit your local hospital to both report an incident of fraud or to get tested and get in touch with the right information.
- Ask questions if you receive a fraudulent phone call, check with your hospitals, doctors and friends or family members and report it.
- If you are donating to a charity make sure they are an official charity before sending your money to any account presented to you online or in adverts and emails.
- Don’t just click on any pop-up or links that might appear on your pages or in your inbox and be sure your latest security software is installed on your computer devices.
For further insight into the myths around scamming delusions, check out our 8 Steps To Delusion series of articles where we unpack the mindsets around fraud.
Where Can I Report?
The truth is that as long as there is a crisis, and as long as technology continues to innovate, there will be fraud and scams, especially during the COVID-19 season.
In summary, our advice as we have mentioned is to be weary of giving out too much information to unknown or suspicious sources, and to be aware of what is going on from your local government perspective during a crisis. It’s also a good idea to get correct information from hospitals, or medical personnel who you know.
If you suspect any fraud or have been scammed you should report it to the U.S Department of Justice Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another option is to report it to the FBI Internet Complaint Centre.
Stay In Touch With The Anti-Fraud News
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