This is a scary time for all of us and especially frightening for quarantined seniors. Thousands of scammers and thieves are taking advantage of public panic and confusion around the COVID-19 outbreak to sell fake goods and services as well as to load malware onto people’s phones and computers.
How to Avoid Being a Victim
These scams are happening via telephone, text, email, social media and in person, and, as always, vulnerable seniors are a top target for these fraudsters. That’s why we decided to share the most common coronavirus scams targeting seniors and how to avoid them.
1) Medically-Related Scams: Scammers impersonate health organizations and businesses to gather personal and financial information or sell fake test kits, supplies, vaccines or cures for COVID-19.
How to Avoid: Ignore offers for a COVID-19 vaccine, cure or treatment. Any medical breakthrough will not be first reported through unsolicited emails or online ads.
2) Checks from The Government: The administration is preparing to ease the economic impact of the virus by sending money by check or direct deposit. However, the government will NOT ask for a fee to receive the funds, nor will they ask for your personal or account information.
How to Avoid: Do not give financial information to anyone saying they’re associated with the government, banking institutions, or other organizations in regards to the COVID-19 economic stimulus plan.
3) Charity Scams: Fraudsters seek donations for illegitimate or non-existent organizations.
How to Avoid: Check if the organization in question is listed with the Better Business Bureau, GIVE.org or CharityWatch.org. If it is not, do not send money or personal information.
4) Investment Scams: Often styled as “research reports”. Fraudsters claim that products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect or cure COVID-19.
How to Avoid: Before you make any investments, remember the high potential for fraud right now. You should be wary of any company claiming the ability to prevent, detect or cure coronavirus.
5) Online Phishing Scams & Fake Email: Scammers are copying the identity of trusted organizations to obtain your personal information such as Social Security numbers and banking information.
How to Avoid: Make sure the email is from the organization it claims to be from. Hover your cursor over the link without clicking. If the email link looks suspicious, it is.
If an elderly you know or care about gets scammed, you have to know that they may feel ashamed and embarrassed about falling for the scheme. That could make them reluctant to talk about what happened. Responding non-judgmentally helps seniors feel supported and be more willing to discuss the situation with professionals like us.
Here at Gharibian Law, we recognize that there is always an inherent risk when it comes to elderly healthcare and finances and we welcome you at our Elder Abuse Attorney in Riverside or surrounding area. You can call to have a legal consultation to see if we can help you with your case. Contact us at 888-288-0091 or through our website.