Scammers will always use any opportunity they can get to steal your personal information or your money. The current climate with the coronavirus pandemic is no escape. Since the virus has become widespread, it has become increasingly important to keep up with coronavirus news and updates. Despite the gravity of this pandemic, there are people out there who are leeching off its popularity and using the topic as clickbait. In this article, we provide tips on how to deal with coronavirus scams.
Identifying COVID-19 Scams
Clickbait is any type of online content that serves to draw your attention and lead you to eventually click on a particular web link. It is a type of false advertisement, as it is typically deceptive. Clickbait ads tend to be very attractive and enticing but does not represent the true intentions of the content. Many people get these regularly in their emails.
You might be familiar with the Junk or Spam section of your email. Many of those emails are marked as scams because the sender is not a trusted site or the attached file is not to be trusted.
Coronavirus scams use clickbait in various forms to wreak further havoc in these difficult times.
What Do Scammers Ask For
Scammers will try to ask for personal details such as your identity, SSN, or even bank account information. Many of them provide irresistible offers, such as freebies, huge discounts, supposed exclusive deals, etc. In the midst of coronavirus, scammers are calling, texting, emailing people and inveigling them to give up personal information. So, if you get a suspicious phone call or text message do not divulge any such information. For example, if you are being asked to make a payment in order to apply for aid or exclusive loans and so on, it’s likely fake.
Be on the lookout for fake IRS emails, texts, etc. The IRS warns the public to beware of coronavirus law scams designed to obtain business and personal financial information. They advise the public to expect scam phone calls, emails, or texts offering to accelerate receipt of payments.
The scams generally ask for your preferred payment methods for rebates and credits, then request bank account information.
Some may ask you to sign over your firm’s or your payment rights in return for cash now. Crooks also use fake IRS emails to install malware or get you to click on web pages where you enter financial information.
How To Avoid Coronavirus Scams Online
If you’re browsing the web and see strange websites (with unusual domain names) or pop-ups that you haven’t allowed in your browser, close the page immediately. Do not click on anything on the page.
When doing business with your personal or business accounts related to COVID-19 relief and so on, ensure that the site is safe, protected and encrypted. Sometimes, the site has all these safety netis but can be a cover all the same. To be extra careful, do not share, sign in to, or give access to your personal accounts on any untrusted site.
What To Do If You Suspect You’re Being Scammed
Apart from avoiding coronavirus click baits that can lead to malware that corrupts or retrieves your data, it’s important to make reports to the organization the scammer claims to be representing. Making companies aware of fake messages and content being circulated representing their brand can help them to combat the issue from the inside as best as possible.
If you receive suspicious text messages, social media messages and emails about winnings, discounts, or freebies, do not open them. If you happen to open the message, site or email, and they have attachments or links be sure not to click them.
Government bodies and other companies don’t typically ask for certain information before carrying out an online transaction. The IRS specifically does not initiate contact about stimulus payments or credits via email, telephone, or social media. No firm or individual other than your CPA can accelerate payments.
Key reminder: Report suspicious IRS messages to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When your accounts and personal details come into play, you can never be too careful. As a remote virtual assistant, we understand the importance of securing your company’s private information. We use secure top-known softwares to ensure secure transactions and exchange of data.
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Disclaimer: This article is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bookkeeping Confidential assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.