It’s hard to know what to tell customers these days. People are fearful of contracting the virus, fearful of their loved ones getting sick, fearful of the individual economic impact, the list goes on. Unfortunately, thieves play upon these fears and are finding new ways of scamming people out of money and personal information. Below are our top three ways criminals are taking advantage of your customers during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Impersonator: In this time of uncertainty and isolation, people are reaching for more information, especially from trusted institutions such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and respected hospitals and research facilities. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are using the names of these institutions to lure unsuspecting individuals into fake offers, giving out personal information, and clicking on download links that can infect computers. This can lead to fraud, identity theft, and the loss of account information and passwords. People should never clicks on texts or emails that claim to have government checks as these are definitely scammers. The government does not contact people through email or robocalls. Ensure your customers are receiving information from reliable resources and pass along the Government’s Response to Coronavirus webpage for up-to-date, accurate information.
The Seller: Out of toilet paper, we are too. Don’t let your customers’ lack of resources or fear of running out of supplies allow them to fall victim to a scam. A seller that has discounted test kits, access to supplies that are in high-demand but short supply, or claim to have vaccinations are criminals. Desperate people sometimes fall for outrageous claims but even the most wary can fall for a scam. Amazon is currently struggling to keep up with misleading sellers on their website. They’ve recently removed over 1 million products that they have deemed suspect. Now is the time to stay diligent and remind your customers; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
The Charity: Thankfully, when times get tough, people become increasingly charitable. During this crisis, we’ve seen some of the best of human nature. Donations are being made to help the unemployed, medical workers, research organizations, victims and more. However, this drive to help others opens the doors for thieves who are well versed in how to steal money through fake charity scams. It’s important to share with your customers that they should do their homework on the organization before donating, never feel rushed to make a donation, and never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money. Visit the FTC’s resource on how to avoid charity scams here.
Information is key to preventing your customers from falling victim to the COVID-19 related scams. Feel free to use information from this article to inform your customers and pass on the FTC’s information page, outlining these scams and more with tips on prevention and protection.
Sharing in THIS case is caring. Tell your customers about Coronavirus related scams and show them you have their best interest at heart. But did you know, your institution can also do more to help your customers protect, defend, and recover in case of theft? To learn more, contact us at Current Marketing Solutions.