The coronavirus pandemic has created more opportunities for robocalls and hackers. For many reasons. First, millions of people are filing new claims for unemployment benefits, so when a phone call comes in, it is tougher for them to ignore. Second, many people have been working from home lately, which makes their personal tech devices, including smartphones, more attractive target. Few weeks ago, the Federal Trade Commission issued a warning, advising people to not respond to digital communications from those claiming to have information about checks from the government, among other schemes.
“The FCC has received reports of scam text-message campaigns and robocalls offering free home testing kits, promoting bogus cures, selling health insurance, and preying on virus-related fears,” says the FCC’s warning.
Also, the World Health Organization issued a warning about scammers, as well. This warning urges people to be wary of phone calls and text messages that claim to be from WHO, asking for account information or for money.
“Reports have also been received about robocalls purporting to offer free virus test kits in an effort to collect consumers' personal and health insurance information. Yet another robocall message purports to be from the U.S. Department of Health, warning of an outbreak in your area,” warns the FCC.
Don’t fall for the coronavirus scam
The FCC offers the following tips to help you protect yourself from coronavirus scams.
1. Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
2. Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
3. Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
4. Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding. Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money.
5. Do not click any links in a text message. 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.
We also recommend getting a reliable spam blocker. This is the easiest way how to avoid phone and SMS spam.