Scammers are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to harm people through financial scams. During this time of uncertainty, knowing about possible tricks is a good first step toward preventing them.
- Vaccine, cure, air filter, and testing scams: There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, and there is no cure. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned consumers about an increased number of scams related to vaccines, test kits, cures, treatments, and air filter systems. If you receive a phone call, email, text message, or letter that claims to sell any of these items, it’s a scam.
- Coronavirus-related charity scams: A charity scam occurs when a thief poses as a real charity or uses the name of a real charity get money from you. Be careful about giving money to any charity calling you for donations and be wary if you get a call about a donation pledge that you don’t remember making–it could be a scam.
- "Person in need" scams: Scammers could use the circumstances of the coronavirus to pose as a grandchild, relative, or friend who claims to be ill, stranded away from home, or asking you to send money. These scammers usually ask you to send cash or gift cards and often beg you to keep your actions a secret and act quickly before you have time to ask questions.
- Scams targeting Social Security benefits: While local Social Security Administration (SSA) offices are closed to the public due to COVID-19, the SSA will not suspend or decrease social security benefit payments or supplemental security income payments due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Scammers may mislead people into believing they need to provide personal information or pay money to maintain regular benefit payments while SSA offices are closed. Any communication that says SSA will suspend or decrease your benefits due to COVID-19 is a scam, whether you receive it by letter, text, email, or phone call.
How to Help Keep Everyone Safe from Scams
Help spread the word to keep those you care about from falling for a scam, regardless of their age or health status. o the FTC.
For more information about different types of scams, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau COVID-19 Resource Center, the FCC Consumer Help Center, and the FCC Scam Glossary.