Guard Yourself Against COVID Scams

Guard Yourself Against COVID Scams

05/13/2021   Archive

Guard Yourself Against COVID Scams

Fraudsters notoriously use times of crisis to take advantage of people, and the COVID-19 pandemic has provided scammers with new opportunities. Watch out for key warning signs such as asking for your personal information, financial institution details or money/deposits.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has compiled a list of common COVID scams and what you can do to protect yourself. Here’s a few of the common forms of COVID fraud, along with tools and resources to ensure your security.

Contact Tracing Fraud

Contact tracing, while extremely helpful to prevent widespread outbreaks, can be an easy way for someone looking to gather others’ personal information. The FTC offers the following advice related to legitimate contact tracers:

  • They will not ask for money
  • They will not ask about your immigration status
  • They won’t ask for your financial information or social security number.
Contact tracers will only ask about who you were recently in contact with, they will not ask for health insurance or financial institution information.

COVID Survey

Another form of fraud to be aware of is fake COVID-related surveys. First, you are asked to fill out a vaccine-related survey in exchange for cash or gifts. The catch is you’re then asked to pay a small “shipping” or “handling” fee. They will take your card or banking information, and any other personal information you’ve provided, to then steal your money.

The fake survey is usually sent to your email. As always, do not click links from senders you don't know. The FTC has provided details on how to recognize and avoid these fraudulent emails.

WHO Donations

The World Health Organization (WHO) says to be wary of emails claiming to be from them asking for monetary aid and be alert when receiving emails. They are advising you to verify authenticity any time a person or organization appearing to be from WHO contacts you.

They have reported cases of people fraudulently appearing as WHO or the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. These people may send you an invoice requesting payments on behalf of the Fund. Please be aware WHO, the UN Foundation, or the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation will never contact you for your credit card or banking information.

Buying Vaccines

It is illegal to buy or sell a vaccine or vaccination card. If someone is offering to sell you the vaccine through an unofficial channel, this is a scam. In cases where this has occurred, people have faced legal consequences.

Keep in mind, this list is not exhaustive, and there will likely be new fraudulent opportunities to watch out for.

Staying vigilant is your best protection against this activity. The U.S. Office of the Inspector General advises you to contact them if you suspect you have been a victim. And if you’ve provided your Apple FCU account information, contact us immediately at 703-788-4800.

Visit our Fraud Prevention Center for more information.