Scammers are using the fear and confusion surrounding the coronavirus pandemic to take advantage of others. The following tips can help you fight back. Learn how to avoid COVID-19 related scams and discover what legal options you may have if someone gets ahold of your money or personal information.
Disregard Offers for Test Kits and Treatments
Ignore online offers for at-home test kits or vaccinations. Question any product claiming to prevent or cure the coronavirus. Scammers are using false advertising to sell unproven products and supplements. When there is a medical breakthrough related to COVID-19, you will not hear about it through a sales pitch.
Watch Out for Phishing Emails
Scammers use phishing emails to trick people into giving their personal information away. That information may include account numbers, passwords, or Social Security numbers — which can be used to access bank accounts.
The latest phishing emails are designed to look like they were sent by the CDC or the WHO. Some are even meant to look like they come from contact tracers. Do not click on links in these suspicious emails, give away your account information, or make payments.
Be Aware of Fraudulent Unemployment Collection
An imposter may try to file a claim for unemployment benefits using your name and personal information. If this happens, you will likely get a notice from your employer or your state’s unemployment benefits office. Report the identity theft and fraud as soon as possible.
If you receive benefits you did not apply for, contact your state unemployment agency. Ignore anyone who asks you to wire your benefits or send cash or gift cards. These requests come from scammers.
Your Next Steps
If you have lost money to a COVID-19 scam, you are not alone. COVID-19-related fraud has cost Americans over 160 million dollars since the beginning of this year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. You can receive updates and follow the latest coronavirus scams on the FTC’s website.
Know that you may be entitled to compensation if your consumer rights have been violated. Call 1-888-517-9115 to schedule a free case evaluation with the attorneys at Markoff Leinberger. Our skilled lawyers handle individual cases and class action lawsuits for consumer fraud matters.