When we as a nation face challenging times, most of us pull together to help one another out. Unfortunately, some people see any crisis as an opportunity for personal advantage. The current pandemic is no exception. Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Small Business Administration have issued warnings alerting consumers to the nature of certain scams that are being used by criminals during this time of crisis. Listed below are some helpful tips for all of us.
- Ignore Online and Door-to-Door Solicitations For Vaccinations And Home Test Kits
There are no products proven to treat or prevent COVID-19 at this time. The FDA has stated that there are no approved vaccines, drugs or treatment products currently available to cure or prevent the virus. The FTC and FDA have issued joint warning letters to various sellers of products including teas, essential oils, and colloidal silver.
- Hang up on Robocalls
Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from low-priced health insurance to work-at-home schemes to help in processing your coronavirus stimulus check. A robocall trying to sell you something is illegal unless the company has your written permission to call you that way.
- Watch For Emails Claiming to Be From the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or WHO (World Health Organization)
Use sites like coronavirus.gov and usa.gov/coronavirus to get the latest information. And don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. Scammers use email or text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information. They may try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could gain access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Phishing emails and text messages may look like they’re from a company you know or trust. They may look like they’re from a bank, an online payment website or app, or an online store. If you think a scammer has your information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, go to IdentityTheft.gov. There you will see the specific corrective steps to take based on the information that you lost.
- Watch For Emails Claiming to Be From the SBA (Small Business Administration)
Finally, even small businesses are not immune from attack during these challenging times. Fraudsters have already begun targeting small business owners in an attempt to obtain banking information so that business accounts may be hacked. Note that the SBA does not initiate contact on either Disaster loans, grants or PPP applications. If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA, suspect fraud. If you are contacted by someone promising to get approval of an SBA loan, but requires some sort of payment up-front or offers a high interest bridge loan in the interim, suspect fraud. If you are in the process of applying for an SBA loan and receive email correspondence asking for confidential information, ensure that the referenced application number is consistent with the actual application number. Look out for phishing attacks/scams utilizing the SBA logo. These may be attempts to obtain your personally identifiable information (PII),to obtain personal banking access, or to install ransomware/malware on your computer.
Stay safe and remain calm as we all wait for this season to pass.
Since 1985, the personal injury attorneys at Drake, Hileman & Davis, have been concerned for the safety of those in our community. We have a proven track record of results and satisfied clients. We’re ready to answer your questions and provide you with the legal help you need, when accidents happen. Contact us on-line or call us at (888) 777-7098 to schedule your free consultation in the convenience of your home or at one of our five offices located throughout the region.