The Coronavirus pandemic has taken the world by storm and affected almost everyone in some way. The pandemic is bad enough on its own, but to make matters worse, scammers are using this chaos to take advantage of everyday people in their time of need. Incidents of Coronavirus-related fraud have become so common that even the FBI has issued official warnings about a variety of scams. If you believe that you might be the victim of fraud, then it’s time to be proactive, so check out these major steps to stop a pandemic-related scam from ruining your life.
Do Not Share Personal Information
Your address, email address, screen names, online profiles, and account numbers can all be used against you by fraudsters. The more information they have, the more likely they are to access your sensitive accounts. Once scammers have a foot in the door, it can be hard to stop them from messing up your finances. Whether you’re online, on the phone, or speaking to someone in person, you should never share your passwords, account numbers, or addresses with anyone whom you can’t confirm is trustworthy.
Check Accounts and Alert Credit Agencies
You should check every account that’s in your name for suspicious activity. Even streaming services and online game accounts are targeted, so be sure to leave no stone unturned. No matter how insignificant or tangential an account is, there’s a good chance that it contains sensitive information and is linked to your bank account in some way. If you have even the slightest feeling that your information has been compromised, then you need to alert your bank and credit agencies as soon as possible. They will stop criminals from fraudulently opening accounts in your name. Failure to do this can result in severe debt and poor credit.
Avoid Links and Scan for Malware
At the start of the pandemic, Google blocked nearly 20 million fraudulent Coronavirus-related emails every day. If you’ve received any messages or emails that contain links, then you shouldn’t click on them. Many scammers will use email addresses that resemble the domain names of legitimate government institutions, so it’s very important to avoid any link that you’re even slightly unsure about. You may have already been the victim of fraud, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t try again. Whether or not you’ve clicked any dubious links, you should regularly scan your electronic devices for malware. Otherwise, your data could be at risk.
Cease Contact and Don’t Confront Them
If there’s any doubt in your mind about someone’s intentions, then you should stop communicating with them immediately. Every message, email, or phone call presents a risk, and you can easily compromise your sensitive information by responding to a potential scammer. They’ll probably reach out and pester you, but you must stay strong and avoid speaking to them. You may be tempted to take it upon yourself to record a phone call with a scammer, but that’s a bad idea. In many states, it’s illegal to record someone without their consent. You don’t want to end up in legal trouble, so it’s best to leave everything to the professionals.
Contact a Qualified Lawyer
Fraud can be a very complex legal matter, so you should reach out to a qualified legal professional for guidance. An experienced attorney will help you understand the legal options at your disposal, and they will guide you towards the best course of action. With the right lawyer by your side, you can prevent your situation from worsening, so be sure to call a qualified professional to keep you safe in these difficult times.
Emails, physical mail, messages, and other evidence should not be discarded. Many pieces of electronic evidence can be accessed with the help of your internet service provider or cellular service company, but it’s better to have such information on hand. When building a case against a potential scammer, every shred of information helps, so try to keep track of every instance of communication so that you can share it with your attorney and law enforcement professionals.