When the global outbreak of the coronavirus was reported, fear and panic sparked all over the world. Governments declared lockdowns, businesses implemented mandatory work-from-home arrangements, and people started panic-buying sanitizers, face masks, and even toilet papers.
While the latter might sound hilarious for some, there's actually a good reason for it. When humans feel threatened, they naturally try to find a way to feel like they are in control of the situation. In this case, having a ton of toilet paper did it for some. The same concept could be applied to what happened during the Spanish flu. People in that era have coped with the crisis by panic-buying supplies that could prevent the flu. In short, the faster we perceive the threat, the faster we react to it.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus isn't the only threat that we have right now. Pandemic-related scams have been surfacing for a while now too. Here are some of them:
Fake government websites
Scammers have mastered the art of mimicking legitimate government websites. In this case, they share COVID-related information that can lure you into either donating money or share your personal information.
To avoid this, double-check the website's domain. Usually, a more reliable site ends in ".com", ".org", or ".gov".
Email or Text Messages
This could be really tricky as scammers can easily pretend that they are family to get your personal information, or worse, credit card details. Whatever their excuse for asking for your personal information, make sure to confirm who they are first, especially if it's an unknown number.
Call other family members, call their old number if you have it registered in your phone, and more importantly, ask personal questions. If they can't answer them, it's possible they are a fraud.
The most common type of these is donation pledge calls. Today, it's easy to make up a charity that "supports coronavirus victims".
Sometimes, they can even make it look so real by providing a website. They could also make you feel guilty if you won't donate. However, the smart way to deal with it is just to search for an organization online that you can trust.
In addition, it would be really helpful to get a call blocker if you want to deal with scam calls for good. You can find some here.
Not even a pandemic could stop fraudsters from taking advantage of people. Now, more than ever, it pays to be vigilant since people have more ways of connecting with us.