Coronavirus disease (2019) Fraud & Scams

In times like these, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. Fraudulent schemes related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have arrived, and they are coming in many forms.

Here's what to know about the COVID-19 scams out there, as well as some precautionary measures you can take to avoid being scammed.

Coronavirus Investment Scams

News coverage of viral updates and pandemics can be an opportunity for scammers to pump inaccurate information into the marketplace to try to manipulate markets and investors. Information such as "this company can prevent, and cure the coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.." This is pure speculation and without basis, and a typical pump-and-dump scheme.

CrowdFunding scams are also lurking around the corner. If you want to donate, do it directly to trusted corporate foundations, NGOs, community org and official government task force/department to pledge your support.

In some isolated cases, quarantine passes are being allegedly 'sold' as well. Quarantine passes are free and you should not pay for it. Better report this to authorities if you encounter such an incident.

Free Payment/Item in exchange for personal info

Scammers know that many individuals and businesses are in desperate need of economic assistance as a result of their ongoing self-distancing orders. They are capitalizing on this situation to steal even more from those who are already suffering.

This can come in the form of an advertisement online or SMS or email, wherein you will be informed that you can get "Free Coronavirus safety mask" in exchange for either your personal details or it asks you to download and install an app.

The app will gain access to your contacts and the cycle repeats itself and reach more potential victims. Another would be a message informing you of a 'government payment/benefit' in exchange for personal info or even your credit card details. Or it can also come in the form of 'fill out a census to get your aid'. Census has nothing to do with any cash aid/benefit.

The government will not ask for your personal information during this crisis, at best they will ask for government issued ID. DSWD and other government agencies has published in their websites guidelines and procedures for cash/aid distribution to LGUs and barangays.

Fake Information and entertainment offers

Malicious actors figured they’d capitalize on current social distancing recommendations and self-isolation orders by spreading fake offers.

This comes in the form of entertainment offers such as "free Netflix subscriptions" but the link is obviously doesn't come from Netflix. Another classic phishing scheme which may lead to more problems later on such as compromised financial details or even identity theft.

There are “helpful” apps being advertised to be downloaded but are actually malwares in disguise. They may offer "Curated Coronavirus updates" or a "Corona Virus finder" app. Once again, this is to get personal and financial information.

Those that want to know infections in their area are most at risk. Remember, only subscribe to reliable sources, in this case go straight to government websites/accounts.

Just a reminder
- Choose only reliable sources for information on the recent pandemic.
- Inform and educate vulnerable groups such as the elderly regarding these scams.\
- Never give away your personal and financial information to anyone (online/offline).
- Look at spelling and grammatical errors
- And continue to follow social distancing and self isolation measures :)

The DOH Philippines provides live updates and guidance on the pandemic as well as info from other government agencies.

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Coronavirus disease (2019) Fraud & Scams Coronavirus disease (2019) Fraud & Scams Reviewed by Vernon Joseph Go on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 Rating: 5

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