June 2020 - Guard Against Coronavirus Scams
Unfortunately, there has been an increase in con artists perpetrating new and old scams in the midst of the coronavirus. Beware. Here are some of the common ones:
Stimulus/Government Assistance Scams: The government will never ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. Stimulus funds will be sent by check or direct deposit. If someone calls and asks for your Social Security number, bank account or credit card to receive government assistance, they are a scammer. To receive assistance, you must file an application and meet the qualifications for one of the available government grants or SBA loans.
Fake Mandatory COVID-19 Test Scams: Certain scammers pose as employees of a government department and may send a text or email message concerning “mandatory” COVID-19 testing. The message instructs you to click on a link which, the scammer claims, will allow you to complete an online test or register to get tested. In actuality, the link gives the scammer access to your financial, medical and other personal information.
Grandparent/Family Scams: The scammers have instituted a new twist on an old scam during the coronavirus. In this version, the scammer uses an unfamiliar email or phone number and poses as a friend or family member who has contracted the virus and is desperate for money. Refrain from wiring funds or sending a gift card. Instead, contact your relative or friend directly to see what help, if any, they need.
Phony Charities and Crowdfunding: While it is admirable to give donations during a time of such great need, be cautious. Do your homework. Make sure to research where a charitable donation is going and visit the NJ website for more information about the status and requirements for legitimate charities. As for crowdfunding, be sure to understand the terms and conditions of the specific campaign and read all the comments you can relating to the appeal. Don’t be rushed into giving and beware of any campaign that specifies donations must be made in cash, gift card of wired funds!
Be careful and stay healthy!