COVID-19 Scams – How to Avoid & What to Do
Scammers Get Sophisticated, and we need to, too!
We are currently experiencing a historically unprecedented and internationally unique event. The outbreak of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is now considered a pandemic.
The life of almost everyone has changed dramatically, with lockdown being imposed in an increasing number of countries, preventing people from going outside. Consequently, most people cannot help but spend more time on their computers, smartphones, and gadgets, to keep their sanity intact. This has, quite expectedly, provided fertile ground for predatory scammers who are lurking online, preying on people and attempting to defraud them while they are at their most vulnerable, anxious, and confused.
Accordingly, and more than ever before, it is of paramount importance that we not only get educated and be careful but also distribute, to whomever we can, the valuable tips and knowledge that we are about to share with you. This knowledge refers not to COVID-19 itself but to the risks associated with internet surfing, online banking, and various other activities in the virtual domain, during this novice global pandemic. It’s twofold: not only do we have to stay physiologically safe, by distancing ourselves from one another, developing personal hygiene habits and so on, we now also have to face head-on the new threat – the financial one. By being aware of the evolving scams and frauds conducted online during this time-period – we will save us, and maybe our loved ones and others, a great deal of time and trouble.
Gripped by fear, one is less rational, and is, therefore, more likely to be impulsive and make unreasonable decisions. Thus, one’s chances of falling for a vicious fraud or scam increase significantly. Cybercriminals have noticed that fact, too, and have quickly taken advantage of the global pandemic to satisfy their financial interests. They do so in a couple of creative ways, all of which will be set forth hereunder. Meanwhile, remaining vigilant, recognizing and ignoring cybercriminals is our last resort and the best we can do. Knowing their tactics may help us defend ourselves. Here are some of the most known ways in which people are being scammed online during the COVID-19 outbreak:
Phishing Scams — How to Avoid
- Avoid clicking on any links or downloading any files or attachments in unverified or uninvited texts or emails from unknown sources, or even in trusted sources, unless you’re certainly confident, convinced and sure that the message is indeed genuine and official.
- Look out for fraudulent “non-profit organizations”, community participation, charities, and campaigns.
- Ignore completely any and all communications that request your private personal information. If unavoidable, double-check the contents of the message with the apparent sender or the organization that they are (supposedly) representing. Please ensure it is done via another medium, not the one through which you have received the message in the first place.
- Be particularly cautious whenever you receive emails or texts that urge you to take prompt action or offer COVID-19 vaccines or cures of any kind.
Wold Health Organizations Scams (WHO Scams) – How to Avoid
Fraudsters misrepresent themselves, pretending to be WHO in order to steal money or sensitive information from people. If you are contacted by an individual or a company that appears to be from “WHO”, please verify their authenticity before responding. It is highly likely to be a con-artist. The World Health Organization will never ask for your private information.
From their website who.int:
WHO never asks for money for recruitment.
It is not WHO’s policy to charge registration fees for conferences or meetings.
WHO does not conduct lotteries, or offer prizes or awards through e-mail.”
Nowadays, any individual or organization claims to be from or associated with WHO should smell fishy to you, automatically. In the event that it happens to you, we strongly recommend staying away, not delivering any confidential or private information whatsoever, and immediately reporting to the relevant Law Enforcement Agency/Authority in your country.
Fraudulent online brokers’ schemes & How to Avoid
It is beyond obvious that COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the stock market. This has led to numerous fraudulent broker schemes, offering unrealistic results as a consequence of “smart” investment in the time of COVID-19, to defraud dozens of thousands of victims around the globe.
Please verify the credibility of the broker. We highly recommend to only deal with brokers who are licensed and regulated by one of the reputable regulators, such as the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission in Cyprus, or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Fraudulent activities conducted by brokers are abundant; with inability to withdraw the funds being the most severe one.