Avoid coronavirus robocall and text scams
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The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning consumers of scam text messages that are on the rise. The agency says that it has received reports that scammers are sending SMS text messages and using robocalls to exploit peoples’ fears about COIVD-19.
The scam text messages and robocalls try to steal money and insurance information.
Like many scams, these frequently target the elderly.
The vaccine related scam text messages and calls offer free home testing kits, promote sham cures, or sell and fake health insurance plans. The messages may play upon your health concerns or financial stress
Text message scams may be disguised as COVID-19 contact tracing calls.
Scammers may also try to convince you to pay for vaccinations. COVID-19 injections are free of charge in the United States.
The scam messages may contain legitimate health information to increase your trust in the messaging.
“Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding,” says the FTC
- Never reply to calls or texts from unknown numbers
- Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
- Be suspicious of emails, calls, or text messages that attempt to scare you into sharing sensitive information like birthdate, identification numbers, or passwords
- Scammers use apps to spoof (fake) phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding
- Never click on any links in a text message from someone you don’t know.
Friends’ phones and accounts can get hacked and there is no guarantee that email or text from a friend is legitimate and safe. A quality antivirus app can help protect your laptop, computer, or phone from malware and phishing attacks. We recommend Heimdel Security or Malwarebytes antivirus.
When in doubt, call a friend, colleague, or company to see if they sent the message, link, or attachment.
If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren’t hacked.
Government agencies, like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), never call you to ask for personal information or demand payment over the phone. They send a letter using US Postal Service mail.