It has been over a year since COVID-19 made its first appearance in our area. In response to the virus, we have adapted to new daily routines to help stay safe and healthy: keep your distance, wear a mask, and wash your hands. A few months ago, several vaccines became available, and the scammers of the world saw an opportunity. Because of these quick-thinking scammers, our new daily routines should also include keeping a watchful eye on our bank accounts and personal information and making smart decision when it comes to sharing personal information.
“Fraudsters are always looking to take advantage of significant world events. The COVID-19 pandemic and its corresponding rapid digital acceleration brought about by stay-at-home orders is a global event unrivaled in the online age,” said Shai Cohen, senior vice president of Global Fraud Solutions at TransUnion.
According to Colleen Tressler, the scammers’ newest attempt to swindle your personal information involves sending phony vaccine surveys. Ms. Tressler is with the FTC’s Division of Consumer and Business Education and in her article, she states that these opportunistic scammers are sending emails and text messages with links to surveys. These surveys appear to be legitimate, but it is all an elaborate ruse to steal your personal data. Her advice to avoid being scammed is simple:
- Do not click on any links or open attachments.
- Do not call or use the number in the email or text.
- Do not give out your banking account, credit card, or personal information.
- Report scams to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
In the same way that we are vigilant in protecting our health, we must also be vigilant in protecting our financial and personal information. Just like viruses, scammers are out there looking for a weak spot to capitalize on – inoculate yourself against these scammers by keeping your information private.