It doesn’t matter whether it’s a national crisis or someone stealing a package off of your porch, scammers and thieves are everywhere and the coronavirus crisis is no different. There are a lot of scams going on so I wanted to expose some of them and let you be aware of what’s going on so that you can spot them and avoid them. How to Spot and Avoid Scams During COVID-19
We have all probably heard of Zoom meetings and Zoom has really taken off as being the go-to app and software for connecting people virtually over meetings, with classrooms, and even among friends but Zuma Bombing is where people can hack into your zoom meeting basically taking over the meeting.
The way to avoid this is when setting up a Zoom meeting or any video chat, set it to private and require a password. Don’t share the links publicly, and change the screen sharing to “host-only”. Plus, always make sure that you update the software when necessary.
Anytime you have money involved you have crooks involved and visa stimulus checks that are supposed to go out within the next few weeks are an opportunity for crooks to get into your bank accounts. Anyone calling you with information about your stimulus check, what to do with it, or how to get it, is not a legitimate source. The only thing that you have to do to receive your stimulus check is… Nothing. If you have filed a tax return in the last couple of years you should receive a check, no questions asked, and no one will call you for verification. If you have filed electronically, you can get your checks starting April 13 but those that are receiving paper checks may have to wait until May 4.
More: How to Feel Safe Buying and Selling During COVID-19
Door to Door Scammers
Utility companies are really stepping up in many areas allowing deferred payments without shutting off your utilities, but a recent scam is pretending to be these utility companies, FBI, even healthcare workers coming door to door asking for your personal information. Nobody should be coming to your door demanding payment right away. This is definitely a scam.
Don’t answer the door for unsolicited offers. Ask for identification and call the provider. Make sure you don’t pay with cash, check, or any online payment applications such as Venmo, CashApp, or Bitcoin.
Giving and Fund Raising Websites
We all have an innate desire to help in some way and the website Go Fund Me has raised over $40 million with coronavirus type fundraisers, however, not all of those are legitimate so you want to make sure that you go with a local need that has some validity. Look at the charity’s rating and report, know where the funds are going, use a credit card, keep all records, and don’t be rushed into any online giving. See if friends or family have given as well and have a good response before giving online.
Related: 10 Tactics on How to Deal with a Difficult Neighbor
There are no shortage of local needs so it’s best to start their with local food banks, churches, and other charities that are directly working with the public and your local community to help those in need.
Using these four tips and being cautious of the scammers out there will help put your funds and your compassion in the right direction. We will all get through this together but it’s important to be informed because there’s always someone out there to take advantage.