July 06, 2020 | Posted in:

COVID-19 Schemes and Scams

Scammers are taking full advantage of COVID-19 fear, preying on consumers and businesses alike. Here are some of the latest scams to be alert for:

College student scams

Emails are showing up in college student inboxes from the “Financial Department” of their university. The email has to a link to a message about a COVID-19 economic stimulus check — and requires the student’s university login. It’s a phishing scam.

Pet adoptions

The bad guys are taking advantage of families wanting to adopt. Watch out for advertisements for free or discounted purebred dogs, and photos of the same cute pets that show up on multiple sites. It’s best to work with a reputable animal shelter or local rescue league.

Fake charities

Scammers are expert at taking advantage of people’s generosity and often use names that sound a lot like real charities. Before you give, check out nonprofits on Charity Navigator or GuideStar. As with purchases, pay by credit card, not by gift card or wire transfer.

PPP business scams

There is $130 billion left in the Paycheck Protection Program but small business owners are at risk for scams. For example, there’s a fake email claiming to be from the SBA encouraging owners to apply for a PPP loan. For those who have already applied, there’s a robocall scam—again from the ‘SBA’ asking for confidential information to verify your account. There are also criminals masquerading as lenders who are sending out fake applications. Before you apply for the PPP, verify that the lender is approved by the SBA to administer PPP Loans.

A good rule of thumb: if you receive a solicitation related to COVID-19, especially by email or phone, ignore it.

Click here for additional COVID-19 Fraud Schemes to be aware of.


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