In this age of “we are all in this together,” sometimes it is easy to forget that not all of us who are trying to help during the COVID-19 pandemic have good intentions. Sadly, there are many insurance and business scams that are circulating our region and nation.
Currently there are several scams revolving around IT fraud and phishing scams, insurance scams (specifically life insurance), and investment scams. While the type and scope of these scams will likely change over the next few months and possibly years, we are hoping to help our clients avoid getting caught up in them with a few common sense steps.
Here are a few ways to measure if something is too good to be true whether it is via phone, snail mail, or email.
Do Your Research
If you are looking to invest or get in on the ground floor of something that claims to help with the coronavirus do some research first. Investor Alert from the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy warns of Internet promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus, and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.
If you are looking online for insurance, a business loan, or another level of financial relief due to the coronavirus damaging your personal or business economy, think before you leap. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Investigators urge consumers to be vigilant and be on the lookout for scams. Expect to see scams like robocalls, phishing and spam mail with a COVID-19 spin.
While there are many scams out there with COVID-19 as a backdrop, here are some of the more common ones that you should be aware of and warn your family, friends, and neighbors about.
- Car accidents and insurance scams include: staged accidents, jump ins (someone who was not in the car is claiming injury), and auto repair scams.
- Travel insurance scams that claim you can get your money back from a trip you were planning to take.
- Online phishing scams include emails with malicious links and attachments. Be on the lookout for emails from companies that claim to have access to COVID-19 testing kits, masks, ventilators, insurance and cures.
These are very uncertain times, but if we can all remain vigilant against these scams, we can prevent them from occurring. If you have any question about the validity of an email, a phone message, or letter call the company directly. Trust your gut and take action if you doubt the validity of a situation.