Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have fallen prey to scammers who are exploiting public fears by claiming to have legitimate information about the coronavirus. Here are a few ways scammers are taking advantage of people during the pandemic:
Scammers contact businesses and individuals claiming to represent the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization or other public health offices. The scammers may ask to verify social security numbers, or tax ID numbers. Additionally, an email from these scammers may be accompanied by a link or attachment that will infect your network with a virus, leaving you exposed to a potential cyber breach.
Someone may call or email you claiming that a government agency is going to provide financial assistance, but only if you make an up-front payment or provide personal information like a social security number or tax ID number.
Websites that mimic the appearance of trusted retailers may pop up in your emails, advertising essential supplies that you may need (e.g., cleaning supplies, masks). They’ll have you place an “order,” take your credit card information and you’ll never receive the supplies they claimed to be providing you.
Robocall scams are similar to the supply scams mentioned above: Individuals might receive a call pitching test kits or sanitation supplies. Other robocallers target small businesses, warning them that their website listing on Google has been jeopardized and customers might not be able to find them during this time. These calls are not coming from Google, and the best response to these calls is to hang up the phone immediately.
These are just some of the ways fraudsters are attempting to take advantage of people during the pandemic, and it’s important to us that you stay protected against these scams. To report these scammers, contact New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Singh Grewal’s office by calling (800) 242-5846, or contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs consumer service center hotline by calling (973) 504-6200. Give our office a call today to talk about more ways scammers may try to take advantage of you, and how we can ensure that you are covered.