Of course, scammers are trying to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic, but common sense is a powerful tool to avoid getting ripped off. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
A Tuesday story in Business Insider warned about people getting social media requests from official-sounding senders to provide personal information, purportedly to allow them to quickly get the up to $1,200 that is being given to eligible Americans in coming weeks under a recently enacted economic stimulus law. The story also reported some people were being mailed fake stimulus checks that they were told would only be valid if they called a specified number and provided personal information.
A Wednesday story in The San Diego Union-Tribune explained how texts purporting to be from Costco “offer” its members “freebies,” a “stimulus check” or a “stimulus package” if they click on a hyperlink that the FBI says may lead to ransomware, malware or other fraudulent methods to steal identity, financial or personal information.
In another example, a Wednesday story in the Washington Post revealed how con artists are using email, phone calls and the internet to sell bogus remedies for coronavirus, including “special toothpaste.” There are no over-the-counter or mail-order products available to treat or cure the virus now. If and when there are, that will be huge news.
Everyone should be leery of these scams and warn family members and friends about their prevalence. Shame on anyone using an emergency of this magnitude to exploit scared, vulnerable people.
©2020 The San Diego Union-Tribune