According to Scam Watch, a total of $9 800 000 has been lost around the world to COVID-19 related scams, and the figure is growing every day. It shows the extent to which scammers are determined to go just to get money out of the pockets of innocent people. Scammers are not moved by human suffering, they don’t care about the challenges the world is going through, neither do they feel ashamed to benefit from a crisis of such monumental proportions such as the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen millions of people lose their lives.
These are the common examples that are coming up so far of the ways scammers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fake government help
You will receive a message claiming to be from the government, saying that the government is running a payout scheme aimed at providing financial assistance to the vulnerable population that has been affected heavily by the COVID-19. Some will claim that the government is incentivizing people to stay at home by paying them. Ignore such messages and report them immediately to the police.
Having noticed how governments are taking many steps to combat COVID-19, scammers are now devising ways to pretend to be government entities concerned with the welfare of citizens. They are claiming to provide helpful information regarding COVID-19. They mostly send this information through emails and text messages. But the sole intention is to phish for information. The messages they send contain malicious links that are programmed in a way that they will end up stealing your personal information which the scammers will then use to figure out how to steal your money.
The fraud messages will appear to come from a government entity, bearing GOV, myGov, etc. For example, a message can read “You have received a message from the government regarding the COVID-19 vaccination schedule in your area. Please visit this link to see when you have been scheduled for free vaccination by the GOVERNMENT”. Please ignore such messages and report them to your nearest government office as soon as you receive them.
Vaccination-related scams started emerging at the peak of the COVID-19 scams. The origins can be traced to Australia but the craze has now spread to several parts of the world. The scammers will use these approaches to try and get closer to scamming your money.
- Payment requests in exchange for vaccines or to get early boking for vaccines
- Offers to pay money and own some investment in the vaccine projects from various companies.
- Fake COVID-19 related surveys that promise attractive prizes to be won.
Tips to protect against COVID-19 scams
- Take time to verify the authenticity of a new contact claiming to represent a legit body like the government.
- Avoid clicking links in emails/messages, even when they appear to be from legit entities. Don’t be in a rush!
- Don’t allow a stranger to remotely access your computer, even when they claim to be from a recognized company
- Don’t respond to strange messages or calls asking for personal details. Delete the messages or hang up the call.
Have you lost your funds to COVID-19 related scams or indeed any scams such as stock broker scams, bitcoin scams, etc.? Sorry to learn about your loss. Losing funds is a nasty experience that can be so demoralizing. The good news though is that you can still recover the lost funds. Take our free consultation to get started.