We have enough to worry about these days with the threat of coronavirus and financial turbulence. But leave it to robocallers to throw salt in our wounds and add insult to injury.
People are now reporting bizarre and frightening phone scams that promise coronavirus cures and vaccine reservations. Some are even fooling people into thinking they’re infected so they’ll pay for medicine. Tap or click here to find out how you can sue robocallers.
If you receive a robocall with any information about the coronavirus outbreak, you need to hang up. Spend too long on the phone with one of these heartless cretins and you’ll be short on cash and full of anxiety. Here’s what to look for.
Robocallers: The ultimate cynics
People are working from home more than ever, which means they’re far more likely to receive and take calls than they would at their job sites.
This makes our current moment in history a perfect opportunity for sociopathic phone scammers. And sure enough, reports are flooding in from across North America about despicable coronavirus phone scams and robocalls.
The details in these calls may seem sketchy at first, but for people under quarantine or living in fear of the disease, it’s not hard to imagine people taking some of these messages seriously.
And that’s just what these frauds are banking on to make a quick buck. Tap or click here to find out how to avoid getting tricked by online coronavirus scams.
What are the callers saying to victims?
There are currently two versions of the calls that seem to be the most popular. One claims to be from the CDC and offers “exclusive reservations” for a coronavirus vaccine in exchange for your credit card and Social Security numbers.
There have been enough calls in the San Francisco Bay Area that the Daly City police department took it upon themselves to warn consumers over Twitter.
New scam: People are claiming to be from the CDC offering to let people “reserve a vaccine for the COVID-19” with a credit card and/or social security number. There is no vaccine reserve program, and the CDC is not offering anything of the sort. Do not fall prey!— Daly City Police (@DalyCityPD) March 17, 2020
The second scam is even worse. In this version, the recording tells the victim they’ve tested positive for COVID-19, so they must provide their card number to receive “antibiotics” to fight the disease.
This robocaller is particularly rotten for preying on reasonable fears. Thousands of people are anxiously awaiting their test results to see if they’re sick. If someone doesn’t know any better, they might believe they’re infected and pay the scammers.
And with so many jobs either switching to remote work or closing altogether, people need to hang on to their cash more than ever. Tap or click here to see how to set up your business for remote work.
How can I tell which calls are real or fake?
Robocallers are tricky because they can spoof phone numbers to disguise themselves. But thankfully, these scammers aren’t always the sharpest tools in the shed. Their deception tends to be so obvious that all it takes is some basic knowledge to debunk what they’re saying.
For example, in the second type of call, the scammers promise antibiotics to help you fight off the virus. As any doctor can tell you, antibiotics only kill bacteria. Viruses can’t be treated with them.
It’s also important to remember no government agency will ask you for personal information like your credit card number or Social Security number with a call they solicit.
If you get any kind of call like these, don’t even bother giving them the time of day and simply hang up the phone. Unlike the coronavirus, these scammers won’t be able to harm anyone if we choose to ignore their behavior.