Say the term “robocall” and nearly everyone old enough to have a phone knows exactly what you mean, and then rolls their eyes, two or three times
Robocalls have been targeting us all, particularly the vulnerable and unsuspecting, for years, so it’s no shock that the current global pandemic of COVID-19 has brought out those same “undesirables” looking to rack up some illegal profits.
Most of us have experienced the IRS penalty threats, student repayment scams, or promised free vacations, but the coronavirus pandemic-related is new on the list and will likely be successful when it reaches some trusting and unsuccessful souls.
The FCC has warned that it has already been receiving numerous reports of coronavirus-related robocalls, so here’s what to look for if you happen to be one of the “lucky ones” to receive a call according to the FCC.
- Warnings of an upcoming national quarantine or martial law — they could be attempting to get you to order something to protect yourself or your family
- Messages purporting to be from the World Health Organization or charities asking for money
- Free oronavirus test kits — some are also promising to provide free blood sugar monitors as well for those with diabetes issues
- Offering to sanitize your HVAC systems and/or to sell upgrades promising to protect you from the virus
- Requesting information to confirm a check from the government
The FCC offers the following tips to help you protect yourself from scams, including coronavirus scams:
- Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
- Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
- Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
- 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.
- 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.
- Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before donating. (Learn more about charity scams.)
For more information about scam calls and texts, visit the FCC Consumer Help Center and the FCC Scam Glossary. You can also file a complaint about such scams at fcc.gov/complaints.