How can we identify real charities
Coronavirus Charity Scams - What You Need To Know And How To Protect Yourself
During the coronavirus crisis, we saw great examples of humanity helping one another. An army of volunteers has sprung up around the world to help the weak and needy. Unfortunately, we have also seen a surge in charity scams as scammers attempt to exploit the cybercrime crisis.
As early as February 2020, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned: “Fraudsters take advantage of the fears about the coronavirus. They set up websites to sell fake products and use fake emails, texts and social media posts as a ploy to get your money and personal information ”. These scams will cost you money and divert donations away from real charities and causes.
In this article, we outline the top coronavirus scams and charity scams, what to look out for, and how to protect yourself.
How do coronavirus charity scams work?
Many of the scams used are not new: They are classic cyber attacks with a new coronavirus aspect in the way they are presented. Cyber attacks are malicious and deliberate attempts to breach a person or organization's information system in order to gain some benefit from the victim. Charity scams fall into two categories:
- Scams that target the public
- Scams targeting charity employees themselves
Examples of coronavirus scams - targeting the public
- Counterfeit or counterfeit charities: Scammers pose as a charity to solicit fraudulent donations. Often times, they choose a name that resembles a real and well-known charity.
- Scams involving people in need: Scammers are posing as a coronavirus affected person or may claim to be acting on behalf of a friend or relative and seeking your financial help. The person claims to be in trouble because of the crisis. For example by saying that she is sick or stranded in another country and she will ask you to send her money. Often the urgency and the need for secrecy is asserted.
- Test, Vaccine, and Treatment Scams: Scammers offer fake home test kits and “miracle” cures or vaccines that don't exist. They can also target Medicare beneficiaries by offering Covid-19 testing to try to steal personal information.
- Government Checks:Scammers claim to be from the IRS or other government agency and ask for your personal information, try to charge you fake fees for receiving your business check, or offer you a way to get the money early.
- FDIC and banking: Scammers pretend to be from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or your bank and say that your bank account or access to cash through an ATM is at risk and ask for your personal information.
Examples of Coronavirus Scams - Against Charity Employees
- Phishing. The scammers claim to be from a legitimate organization that can provide information that could help local charities, such as a list of vulnerable people in the area who may need assistance. The victim is asked to click a link to access the information. This usually leads to a fake website or asks the victim to make a payment in cryptocurrency (e.g. bitcoin).
- Mandate fraud. For example, a charity employee who works from home might receive an email that appears to be from a legitimate company that provides services to the charity. The email requests that future payments be made to an alternate bank account controlled by the fraudster.
- Procurement fraud. This could be the online sale of essential personal protective equipment (PPE) (such as face masks and gloves) to a charity or public health organization. Once payment has been made, no products will be delivered or the products will not meet the required standards. New York State was recently the victim of PSA fraud.
Scam With Coronavirus Donations - 9 Tips To Keep In Mind
In general, it is important to keep the following points in mind with every coronavirus scam:
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