Coronavirus scams were bound to ramp up during a vulnerable time like this.  In order to avoid falling prey to scams, it is essential that you keep your eyes and ears open.  As of right now, there are a bunch of scams going around that you need to watch out for.  Scammers are on the hunt for personal financial information that will give them access to everything from your stimulus check to your tax refund.   

Here are six coronavirus scams to watch out for that are currently targeting millions of Americans.

When it comes to scams, the key way to avoid falling prey to one is to know the warning signs.

Testing for coronavirus

This coronavirus scam is targeting those that are on Medicare. Scammers are either knocking on doors or calling people to offer coronavirus testing.  They will ask you for your personal information including your medicare number.  If they get this information, they will use it to bill healthcare programs.

If you are ever asked for your Medicare information, do not share it so easily.  Your first step should be to contact your doctor directly if you have any concerns regarding your health and the coronavirus.  

Suspension of your social security benefits

Scammers are currently sending out letters that appear to be from The Social Security Administration.  The letters are warning recipients that their social security benefits will be suspended due to the coronavirus.  The truth is, benefits will not be cancelled nor reduced due to the coronavirus.  If you do receive one of these letters, report it online at oig.ssa.gov.

Financial institutions have received your stimulus check

In this coronavirus scam, messages are going out that appear to be from a bank or some other major financial institution. They will tell you that they have received your coronavirus stimulus check and proceed to ask you for your personal information.  They say they will then use this information to verify your account and send you the funds.

One of the key things to remember is that the IRS will never call you, email you or text you for personal information.  EVER.  All stimulus checks are being automatically deposited into people’s accounts.

Coronavirus emails

Scammers are sending out fake emails in an effort to get people to share personal information.  Some of these emails are from fake companies that are offering discounts on protective equipment like masks and hand sanitizer.  Some emails go as far as offering a cure while others offer links to advice from the government about coronavirus.  You might even see an email that appears to be coming from the World Health Organization offering information on how to stay safe.

If you receive an email asking you to share your banking information or passwords, do not respond.  In addition, always stay away from clinking on links that will take you to another site.  If you have received an email from your bank or a local government agency, never respond.  Always call the organization directly to report suspicious activity.

Request for donations

Scammers are going after Americans for donations by asking them to assist those that are suffering as a result of the disease.  These requests for donations are coming from fake charities pushing out saddening images in the hopes people will donate.  If you receive an email or a phone call asking you to donate to a sickness-related cause, never share your information.  Instead, do research online for reputable charities if you want to offer monetary assistance.

Fake websites

Over 51,000 coronavirus-related domains have been registered since January.  Many of these sites are actually backed by scammers.  These sites may include official-sounding names in their domain, but don’t be fooled.  Any website offering treatment or advertising an app for you to download is a scam.

Review any domain names carefully and check for errors in spelling.  This may be an indicator of a fake website.  As always, never share personal information online with any suspicious websites and only download apps from legitimate stores such as Google Play or Apple’s AppStore.