Avoiding Coronavirus Scams

Avoiding Coronavirus Scams

Avoiding Coronavirus Scams is a big thing to deal with because some people are always out there to find a way or another to scam people.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (also known as COVID-19) has affected public health and our financial well-being. Sadly, scammers are taking advantage. While there are many types of COVID-19 scams, they all have similar goals: to steal your money and sensitive information.

Note: While there are many COVID-19 scams around the world, this lesson will focus on scams in the Nigeria.

Palliatives Scams

Scammers saw the Palliatives payments as a big opportunity. There are fake government websites that claim you must apply for the palliatives. You may receive calls, texts, or social media messages from scammers pretending to be government officials. They usually claim you won’t get paid unless you pay a fee or provide personal info. 

Scammers have also mailed out fake checks, claiming you need to pay a fee to cash it. They may also say you need to pay part of it back. 

Over the past few years, several companies suffered large data breaches. These breaches exposed the personal info of millions of people. This why you wonder sometimes that how do the scammers get all your details correctly.

How to avoid them

Ignore any message or website that claims you must apply for the palliatives. All eligible people will automatically receive it via direct payment or bank transfer. You also do not have to pay a fee.

Medical/testing scams

Most scams include claims related to medical and research. Watch out for COVID-19 texts, emails and social media posts that require you to get tested. Typically they ask you to click a link or download an attachment which will place malware on your device.

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Some scams offer cures and treatments for COVID-19. Others offer protective equipment and at-home testing kits. They usually say you must act fast and supplies are limited.

You may get a text that claims you’ve been near people with COVID-19. If you interact with any links, you could infect your device with malware. There are also several fake COVID-19 apps that put ransomware on your device.

How to avoid them

Ignore messages that claim you can get a cure or treatment if you respond.

The best way to test for COVID-19 is through a medical professional. However, you can visit any of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) centers to get tested for free.

Overall, beware any message that pressures you to act fast. For official medical news, check NCDC.GOV.NG

Financial scams

Avoiding coronavirus scams

Scammers are also going after the rest of your money. For instance, you may get a message saying that a loved one is in the hospital, but they can’t afford their bills. It will claim you need to pay up, or your loved one could be denied care.

Scammers are even pretending to be charities. You may get a message asking for a donation to help a worthy cause. These messages often ask you to pay in the form of Online Payments Links or debit cards.

How to avoid them

Ignore messages regarding a loved one’s hospital bills. Instead, contact the hospital directly. If the scam mentions a specific person, try contacting that person or their immediate family. 

Don’t respond directly to charity messages either. If you want to donate, contact that charity yourself. 

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Identity theft scams

Some scammers claim to work for real companies, offering free food, supplies, or store discounts. When you try to sign up for those offers, they steal your personal info. 

With unemployment going up, scammers are posting fake job offers. Some of them even guarantee a job. However, many of them steal your personal info once you apply. 

Scammers are even targeting entire companies. They create fake company emails and hide malware within the message. Their goal is to steal employees’ login info and break into the company’s network.

How to avoid them

If you get offers for company deals, check online to see if those deals are real. Companies usually promote deals on their website and social media pages, so they shouldn’t be hard to find.

Carefully review work emails with links or attachments, especially if you don’t recognize the sender. When in doubt, ask your supervisor if an email is real. 

Beware any “guaranteed” job offer, because it’s likely fake. Also be wary of any offer that has multiple spelling and grammar errors. If you’re unsure if an offer is fake, search for the employer or staffing agency online, along with the terms ‘fraud’ or ‘scam.’ If you don’t find any problems, try using their official website to apply.

Sadly, we don’t know how long this pandemic will continue. In the meantime, take care to protect your finances and identity, and stay safe.

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Hammed Adigun

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