COVID 19 Scams Abound! Here's What You Need to Know

Posted on 04/01/21

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect us all, and scammers continue to do all they can to take advantage of it.

How these scams work:

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  • Scammers lure in targets with an offer to “skip the line” for quicker access to the COVID-19 vaccine – for a fee.
  • They claim to be selling in-demand supplies, like face masks, test kits and household cleaners.
  • They hack into people’s social media accounts and send the user’s contacts a message saying they can get you a “COVID relief grant.
  • Scammers send text messages impersonating contact tracers warning you’ve been exposed to the virus and to click a link for more info.

What you can do:

  • Ignore any offer to skip the vaccine line – it’s a lie.
  • Engage your inner skeptic when you see ads offering in-demand, hard-to-obtain supplies.
  • Be suspicious of messages or posts from people in your social media circle with a special offer – contact them via other means to warn them their account may have been hacked (and tell them to change their password right away).
  • Real contact tracers will not send you a link to click, and they will not ask for money or sensitive personal information.
  • Be warned that links in texts and emails can download software that steals your usernames and passwords and other sensitive info.
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If you suspect that you or someone you know has been targeted by scammers call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 1-877-908-3360.

Learn more about COVID-19 scams at aarp.org/covid19fraud

This story is provided by AARP Maryland. Visit the AARP Maryland page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus; additional AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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