10 Red-Hot COVID-19 Scams Older Adults Should Know About
With the demand for COVID-19 vaccines continuing to outpace supply, the market is ripe for scammers seeking new ways to steal money and personal information from older Americans. Fake COVID-19 test scams, phony cures and bogus cleaning supplies have been wreaking havoc over the past 12 months. Here are some of the biggest scams happening today.
- Vaccine Scams. You can’t pay to skip the line, reserve an appointment or join a clinical trial. Be wary of calls or texts asking for your Social Security number, financial/banking details or insurance information. Never share personal, financial or medical information with people you don’t know. If someone reaches out to you by text, don’t respond. Instead try calling the number to see if it is legitimate.
- Vaccine-for-Sale Scams. Ignore ads or solicitations touting the vaccine for sale. It is not!
- Contact Tracing Scams. Genuine contact tracers will not ask for money or your Social Security number, bank account or a credit card number.
- At-Home Test Kit Scams. Beware of offers from anyone asking for your personal details. Instead find a legitimate testing site in your neighborhood.
- Government Pay Scams. Government agencies will not ask you for payments via cash, gift cards, wire transfers or crypto currency.
- Air Filter Scams. Fraudsters are emailing, texting, calling and sending letters claiming they have air filters that “will remove COVID-19 from the air in your home.” The claim is false.
- Charity Scams. Any emergency or disaster leads to a spike in fraudulent charities, so do your homework before giving—especially if the request comes from social media.
- Errand Scams. Instead of paying strangers, ask for help from a trusted neighbor, family member or friend.
- Package Scams. Last fall there was a rise in text messages with links that led to websites impersonating legitimate delivery companies. Victims were asked for money or personal information for the delivery of bogus packages or goods they never ordered.
- Peer-to-Peer Mobile Payment Scams. Exercise caution if you are asked for fast digital payment. Make sure you are transferring money to a legitimate source.