As if the pandemic hasn’t caused enough problems, it’s also giving criminals opportunities to exploit. Whether it’s stealing federal stimulus dollars, snatching deliveries, or something else, the swindlers are active.
Let’s check out a few good practices that will help you avoid scams during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If an identity thief learns some of your personal information, such as your SIN number or even your contact info, they may be able to use it to steal federal stimulus payments. Keep this information private by hiring a professional shredder to destroy unneeded documents that could be a data liability, either as a one-off service or a regularly scheduled pick up.
They can come to your home or office and shred documents right from the curbside in the mobile shredding truck. Hiring a professional shredder is the most secure way to ensure old documents don’t get into the wrong hands, and it’s also good for the environment.
Verify Who You’re Dealing With
Scammers often pretend they’re someone else over the phone or email, then ask for personal information that will enable theft. Don’t give out sensitive information over the phone without first verifying the person’s identity on the other side.
Similarly, don’t click on links from email addresses you don’t recognize, and don’t volunteer personal information to a website you don’t recognize. Phishing scams are not uncommon now, and scammers are also using fake websites and apps purporting to be from the federal government or COVID-19 trackers to gather people’s personal information.
Many people have relied on delivery services to receive groceries, medication, and consumer goods, especially seniors, immunocompromised, and those taking care of them. Be sure that the source you’re ordering from is reliable and trustworthy.
Reputable businesses rely on delivery services more than ever, so using them is safe. Just make sure that the online source you use is legitimate, and it’s safer to ask for help from a friend or relative than from someone offline.
Donate to Charity Carefully
Sadly, money that was intended to go towards aid organizations like food banks or hospitals has been redirected by scammers. By all means, donate to good causes! Just make sure that your money reaches the destination it was supposed to.
Research the charity or organization if you need to, or verify it through sites like givewell.org. Never click on any links or download any information sent by someone you don’t personally know.
Check your bank account to ensure no money has been taken. Perhaps weekly, scan all your charges and withdrawals to ensure there have been no unauthorized transfers. If there has been, contact your bank immediately.
Change your passwords once in a while, and make sure they’re sufficiently complicated in the first place by using a combination of upper and lowercase letters and numbers.
It’s essential to continue wearing masks, washing your hands, and social distancing. But don’t forget to take precautions against COVID-19-related fraud, either.