COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Scams
We are seeing criminals trying to cash in on the coronavirus outbreak.
With surgical masks and other medical supplies in high demand yet difficult to find in retail stores, fake shops, websites, social media accounts and email addresses claiming to sell these items have sprung up online.
But instead of receiving the promised masks and supplies, unsuspecting victims have seen their money disappear into the hands of the criminals involved.
Phone fraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements.
A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim.
Criminals are also using telephone deception to carry out financial frauds – they will call victims pretending to work for a hospital or medical clinic, claiming that a relative of the victim has fallen sick with the virus A computer program that can replicate itself and spread from computer to computer or file to file. It comes to life only when you take a specific action, such as running a particular program. and request payments for medical treatment.
In many cases, the fraudsters impersonate legitimate companies, using similar names, websites and email addresses in their attempt to trick unsuspecting members of the public, even reaching out proactively via emails and messages on social media platforms.
If you are looking to buy medical supplies online, or receive emails or links offering medical support, be alert to the signs of a potential scam to protect yourself and your money.
- Independently verify the company/individual offering the items before making any purchases;
- Be aware of bogus websites – criminals will often use a web address that looks almost identical to the legitimate one, e.g. ‘abc.org’ instead of ‘abc.com’;
- Check online reviews of a company before making a purchase – for example, have there been complaints of other customers not receiving the promised items?;
- Be wary if asked to make a payment to a bank account located in a different country than where the company is located;
If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, alert your bank immediately so the payment can be stopped.
- Do not click on links or open attachments which you were not expecting to receive, or come from an unknown sender;
Be wary of unsolicited emails offering medical equipment or requesting your personal information for medical checks – legitimate health authorities do not normally contact the general public in this manner.