Avoiding scams during COVID-19

The Department of Commerce is sharing best practices to avoid robocall-type scams during this stay at home time of the pandemic. Given the heightened anxieties surrounding the virus right now, scammers are taking advantage of this by sending out more illegal robocalls. These calls are designed to try and gain personal information from you, like social security numbers and bank account information. They may also ask you to purchase gift cards or make payments for things like at-home COVID-19 tests or investment protections.

In addition to robocalls, scammers may attempt to take advantage of you via online scams such as phishing emails, malicious websites, and other various forms of fraud. Common types of scams featured on these emails and websites feature fake tests or cures, illegitimate health organizations fundraising, and fraudulent charities. More information on fraudulent test kits and fake cures can be found here. More information on charity scams can be found here.

The Minnesota IT Services recommends these best practices for avoiding these scams:

  • Avoid clicking on links and attachments in unsolicited or unusual emails, text messages, and social media posts
  • Only use trusted sources for accurate and fact-based information about COVID-19, such as these government websites: coronavirus.gov or mn.gov/covid19
  • NEVER give out your personal information, including banking information, Social Security Number, or other personally identifiable information over the phone or email
  • Always verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations

Opportunists may try to take advantage of the vulnerable or anxious during the crisis, but knowledge and preparation will prevent them from being successful. By following these practices, you can avoid common scams and continue to protect your identity and your information during this pandemic.