As with any new disaster, you can count on scammers to try and take advantage of COVID-19. Among the many tactics employed by scammers are attempts to get your login credentials, money, and personal information.
Fortunately, you can avoid being the victim of a COVID-19 scam by knowing what to look for. In this handy guide, we walk you through essential information that could end up saving you a lot of hassle and heartache.
Never Reveal Personal Information
If you are ever contacted by someone who asks for your personal information, it is likely a scam. Legitimate organizations will never ask for sensitive information, and that includes your banking information.
Keep Your Computer Secure
As your security software gets older, the more susceptible it becomes to attacks. This is because hackers learn ways to exploit the software over time. You can get around this by making sure you regularly update your software.
Do the Same for Your Cell Phone
Like your computer, it is important to keep your cell phone updated with the latest security improvements. In your phone’s settings should be an option that automatically updates your software. In doing so, you can be sure that any exploits have been found and remedied with the latest update.
Never Answer Numbers You Do Not Recognize
At one time, the majority of scam calls came from unknown numbers. Today, however, scammers know that the chances of you answering a call from an “unknown number” are slim. So now they are calling from what appears to be local numbers.
The best way to avoid falling into their trap is simply not answering phone numbers you do not recognize. If you keep your cell phone’s phonebook up to date, it should be a rarity to get calls from local numbers that aren’t saved in your phone.
If the call is important enough, they will leave a message on your voicemail, which you can then use to determine whether the number is worth calling back or adding to your phonebook.
If you do accidentally take a call from an obvious scammer, hang up immediately. If your cell phone has the option, block that number so they can’t call you again.
Do not Respond to Texts or Emails You Don’t Know
You may receive texts and emails that you don’t recognize. Rather than respond or ask questions, the best thing you can do is delete these messages and block the name or number attached to them.
Never Download from Unknown Sources
If you were sent a link for something to download, it’s more than likely a virus that assists the scammer in gaining access to your computer. Unless you know the sender and trust them explicitly, avoid these links.
Stay Up to Date with the CDC and WHO
Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization keep the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 on their respective websites. You will have a better eye for telling what is legitimate and what is a scam by staying in the know.