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COVID-19 Scams: How to Protect Yourself

In the months leading up to the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines, criminals also prepared themselves to take advantage of unaware consumers.  Their means include distribution scams, fake vaccine lists and trials, and fake cures. Governments around the world have stopped different criminals from pushing fake vaccines and fraudulent schemes to consumers.

Fortunately, you can take certain steps to protect yourself from these scams. Here are ways to help protect yourself from these scams:

Know the Common Scams

Scammers have perfected their art by identifying new ways to become more believable and convincing helping them to obtain your information or money. You can protect yourself from their tactics by knowing the common scams that these criminals are running. Here are just a few of the common ones:

First, there are COVID-19 testing scams where the criminal texts you claiming to be from the US department of health and human services. This scam requires you to take a compulsory COVID-19 test online. The scammer may provide a link to the test. This scam is designed to download malware onto your device or lead you to share your identifying information.

Second, there are COVID-19 vaccine scams where criminals offer to sign you up for the vaccine “waiting list.” These scams are meant to collect your money or personal information. Importantly, there is no vaccine waiting list, much less one for which you should pay to get on to.

Third, there are health insurance scams where the criminals call you pretending to be your healthcare provider, pharmacy, or insurance company.

Get Information from Reputable Sources

Misinformation has been on the rise since the start of the global health crisis. Criminals capitalized on this to swindle people and obtain their personal information. Thus, scammers might send you phishing emails disguising themselves as being from organizations like the World Health Organization and the CDC. However, these criminals, will not share genuine information. Instead, they will offer you apps or links to certain information or benefits to collect your money or personal information.

You can protect yourself by contacting your healthcare provider directly for information regarding the vaccine or by visiting the official websites of the organizations.

Exercise Caution When Dealing With Unsolicited Communication

One of the ways criminals defraud unaware people is by pretending to be from trusted health and government agencies. Accordingly, when you receive these messages, be careful not to provide any personal information. Nor should you click on the links provided in the texts or messages.

Some of the telltale signs of a phishing email include:

  • Typos
  • Odd sentence structures
  • Scanty information about the offer or the reason for the email

You should be particularly wary of communication that needs prompt action or negative consequences if you fail to take the recommended action.

If you are still uncertain about the email or communication, visit the official website of the organization and contact them using the official contact information to confirm that the message came from them.

Therefore, as an extra precaution:

  • Do not click on any links in the messages
  • Use a reputable multi-layered security tool or software that offers spam filtering and protection from other threats
  • Never share your personal information through text, email, or an unverified call

Final Word

RKN Global notes that COVID-19 scams continue cropping up, even as old ones get recycled. Therefore, we must take steps to protect ourselves.  These include getting COVID-19 information from reputable sources, familiarizing ourselves with common types of scams, and taking extra precaution when receiving communication purporting to come from a healthcare, government, or insurance agency.

 

About RKN Global

RKN Global calls attention to identity theft, which is not just a threat to adults, but to children as well. Children are especially vulnerable to identity theft because their more limited financial interactions can enable the theft to go unnoticed for a long time. Learn more...