As if the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t hit consumers hard enough, there’s been a huge spike in scams related to COVID-19.
Scammers are very creative; they come up with all sorts of ways to prey on people, even in a pandemic. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has recorded more than 59,000 coronavirus and stimulus-related complaints, with losses totaling in excess of $74 million.
Consumer Reports is urging people to keep an eye out for the following scams:
- Although no cure or vaccine has been approved to treat COVID-19, fraudsters are trying to sell phony remedies like teas, essential oils and intravenous vitamin-C therapies
- Financial scammers who say they can speed up your stimulus payment check. Be wary of any type of robocall or email that uses the term “stimulus” and asks you to provide personal information like your Social Security number
- Phishing scams from fake websites that may have “coronavirus” or “covid19” in their domain names
Another tip: Consumers should be vigilant about sharing personal information if they didn’t initiate the contact.
And when it comes to credit card fraud, CR says to sign up for push notifications and check your credit reports. The big three credit-reporting agencies are offering free weekly online reports through next April. Go here for details.