In less than six months, COVID-19 has transformed the world as we knew it, and its impact has been devastating. Sadly, scammers are using it to their advantage by taking opportunities to contact vulnerable consumers and attempting to steal personal banking and credit card information. Being proactive and informed is the most efficient way to combat the rise in these “COVID-19 scams.”

Fraudsters have started impersonating government agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), claiming they have a product for sale that cures the virus. These scammers’ key to success is adapting their messages and tactics daily to coincide with new medical and economic studies. With quarantining, working remotely, and online learning becoming the new norm, scammers can interact with consumers like never before.

Here are the most common COVID-19 scams to be aware of:

  1. Vaccine and treatment scams— Scammers falsely claim they are healthcare organizations or businesses to gather personal and financial information. They attempt to sell vaccines, cures, or false test kits for COVID-19, luring the consumer to try these fake products. Keep in mind to never purchase unapproved or misbranded products over the phone or online.
  2. Medical scams— Scammers may call or email pretending to be a doctor or medical staff that has treated your relative or friend for COVID-19. They demand the hospital be paid and money be wired to them for their services. To avoid this occurrence, remember to not answer calls from an unknown number.
  3. Charity scams— Scammers ask for donations toward a charity helping to find a cure for the virus. Fake charity scams prey on those with goodwill and generosity. Millions have been affected by the devastation during COVID-19, and, while helping others is crucial, verify the charity before giving personal information. With that being said, do not click links or email attachments from unknown or unverified sources.

Stay alert and knowledgeable about common scams related to COVID-19 to prevent personally falling victim to fraud. If you would like to learn more, visit our most recent article outlining other common financial scams. Member FDIC.