Robocalls - Scammers are getting very creative in their approach to scam you out of your money. It's common to use fear as a tactic to convince people to give up information that ultimately leads to a money scam. They're using robocall technology to pitch Coronavirus treatments you can use at home. You may see home test kits or even cures. If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment. If you receive such a phone call, the absolute best method to protect yourself is to hang up and avoid pressing any numbers.
Fake Charities - One of the most common scams are fake charities. During these times, scammers will pull on heartstrings to get your information to scam you and take your money. Scammers will often use names that sound like reputable companies and charitable works. When money goes towards scammers, that's less money that goes to the real charities that actually need it. Don't let anyone "rush" you into donating. That's a good sign that it's a scam. Be sure to do your own research before donating to charities you're unfamiliar with. The IRS Nonprofit Charities Database has a tool called “The Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool”. This tool allows you to enter the name of an organization and see if the organization is exempt or not.
Fake online stores - During this pandemic, many people are shut in their homes and are ordering household items that are short in supply in department stores such as toilet paper, cleaning supplies and N95 masks. These online stores are more common now because they're easy to fabricate. Consumers are being scammed when they buy these items, the packages never arrive. Be sure to know who you're buying from before you purchase online goods. Research the business and make sure it's a real online store and not a fake one. The first thing you want to look for on a website is the https:// at the beginning of the address. The S in https:// stands for secure and indicates that the website uses encryption to transfer data, protecting it from hackers. If a website uses http:// (no S), that doesn’t guarantee that a website is a scam, but it’s something to watch for. To be on the safe side, you should never enter personal information into a site beginning with http://.
Here are a few tips to guard against phishing and cyberattacks during the pandemic, as well as security recommended updates for your browser.
Together we'll get through this. In the meanwhile, we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones against some of these scams.
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