The Covid-19 pandemic didn’t just herald the rise of a world-spanning, malevolent virus; it also brought with it other types of problems.
Since the start of 2020, consumers have filed more than 260,000 complaints of fraud. The reason? Covid-19 related scams. Whether it’s about shopping, traveling, or government grants, the worldwide pandemic seems to have seen the rise of related scams that are plaguing the populace.
In this article, we will discuss some of the most common tactics of these scams so that you won’t be one of the victims.
One of the most prevalent scams currently on the rise is those related to online shopping. As the vast majority of Americans were forced to stay indoors for long durations, a huge increase in online spending has been observed.
Many scammers are capitalizing on this boom. Fraudulent shops are on the rise, with consumers paying for something that will not be delivered to them.
Price-gouging is also popular, with many websites charging exorbitant amounts for sought-after prices such as masks and sanitizers.
You can avoid scams like this by thoroughly researching the products that you buy. Make sure to read customer reviews and avoid websites and vendors that don’t have any.
Delivery-related phishing schemes are also becoming popular.
Scammers will cast their net by posing as a shipping or postal company and send consumers messages containing a link. These messages might say that a package is waiting, a delivery has been missed, or a payment is required for delivery.
Malware is often hidden in the link, and clicking it will download it into your device. You might also be bought into a non-verified website that will ask for your personal information.
You can easily avoid this type of scam by directly calling the service that the messages claims to be, through a verified website or contact information. They can usually check the status of your package if you do have one. Whatever happens, never click the link.
Second only to online shopping-related fraud reports are online travels scams.
Often, consumers are tricked into making bookings on a third-party website that isn’t actually affiliated with the hotel or travel agency that the consumers had in mind. These websites might be offering promos and lower market prices, luring people in with the promise of a cheaper vacation.
However, these websites are designed to steal your money and personal information when you enter your credit card details to pay for a non-existent service.
This type of scam is easily avoided by only paying on verified websites. In case some of your data get stolen, you can make sure the thief won’t gain access to your other accounts by not having only one password for everything.
As vaccine distribution becomes one of the main priorities of the US government, many scammers are preying on misinformation and informing unwitting victims that they need to pay for this free government service.
They will often call or text the potential victim and ask for a “registration” or “prioritization” fee related to the vaccine. Sometimes, these scams will also be sent in an email and will contain links that contain viruses.
Vaccines are always free, and they are not sold to consumers – not even in online shops. If you have any questions about your location’s vaccine policies, reach out through official hotlines and emails.
The rise of these scams only shows that scammers are quick to adapt to current trends.
However, most of these schemes can easily be avoided by being vigilant. Never click suspicious links, and never give away your personal information without making sure that you’re giving it to the right place.
Basic digital security principles, such as having different passwords for different accounts, will also enhance your digital security.
As long as you pay attention and follow these tips, you can easily avoid any type of scammers.