The current global situation is unfortunately the perfect opportunity for scammers to prey on fear, as scams related to the Coronavirus are increasing. Scammers are promising a COVID-19 test kit, treatment or cure – and all for a hefty price tag. Don’t fall for it and do not provide your financial information.
Email and phone scams related to health insurance, student loan forgiveness, mortgage financing, lowering your debt and more are also ramping up. If you’re looking to do any of these things, do your own research and use best practices to find a trustworthy source. Also be cautious of what you click, as many scams lead with click bait that promises something (likely too good to be true) to get you to visit their website.
In addition, scammers are taking advantage of those who want to help during the crisis by scamming donations. If you want to donate to an online charity, here are a few tips to ensure you’re donating to a legitimate, trustworthy effort.
- Do your research. We’d recommend choosing a well-known entity to keep yourself safe. But if you choose an organization you’re unfamiliar with, try doing a Google search of the charity and add the word scam or review to see if anything comes up. The Better Business Bureau also has a Wise Giving Alliance which is a good place to research charity organizations. Do your research at www.give.org »
- Watch how you pay. Here are some red flags that may indicate you’re being scammed. Scammers will often request cash, money wire transfers or gift cards. A legitimate entity should have a donation webpage where you can securely enter your card information to donate. You should never provide your bank account information (such as your routing or account number) or your social security number – and there is no reason a charity needs this information. Tip: When you’re on a website, look at the top of the page in the browser bar and look for a small padlock icon to indicate you’re on a secure website. You can also tell if you’re on a secure website by looking at the full web address. It should begin with https:// (not just http://).