As part of the efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, the elderly, especially those over the age of 80 who are most susceptible the dangers of the virus, have been asked to self-isolate themselves. At the same time, the public has been asked to assist family, friends and neighbors who can’t do their own their grocery shopping, pick up medication, or need other assistance.
Unfortunately, there are those among us who would take advantage during this crisis. For instance, someone pretending to be a neighbor may call and offer to provide assistance with grocery shopping. Or the caller might pretend to be from a charitable or government service that provides shopping services for those confined at home.
These crooks are clever, so you have be very cautious. If you don’t know the person, don’t give them your credit card number or any other personal information such as your Social Security number, driver’s license, bank information, passwords or other financial information.
If you are a family member of someone who is confined at home and might not be aware of their risk of being scammed, please take time to call them and caution them about the risks.
This might also be a good time to discuss other means scammers use to steal your identity or separate you from your money. One of the most popular methods these unscrupulous people use is requesting your personal information by e-mail. They are pretty good at making their e-mails look as if they came from a legitimate source such as the IRS, your credit card company, or your bank.
You need to be very careful when responding to e-mails asking you to update things such as your account information, personal identification number (PIN), or password. First and foremost, you should be aware that no legitimate company would make such a request by e-mail. If one does, the e-mail should be deleted and ignored, just like spam e-mails.
We have seen bogus e-mails that looked like they were from the IRS, well-known banks, credit card companies, and other pseudo-legitimate enterprises. The intent is to trick you and have you click through to a website that also appears legitimate, where they have you enter your secure information. Here are some examples:
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