Robocallers Have a New Mission

Covid-19 has given Robocallers another reason to call you! Robocalls are now taking advantage of the Covid-19 Scare. Robocall scammers took a break for a couple of months - but are back now taking advantage of the Covid-19 Panic. Tricia Harte of Digital 3rd Coast explains what she learned from their recent survey. "Since Covid-19 really started, residents we surveyed were finding that they were getting Covid-19 calls offering treatments, Covid -19 financial help, even free testing sites."

They used to claim they were from the IRS or your credit card company. Harte explains their motivation: "They are trying to pretend they are a legitimate organization. They're going to ask for information that can be used to steal your identity. That's what it all boils down to: Identity Theft."

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As far as which demographic is most often targeted, seniors are by and large targeted the most, however for these Covid-19 specific scams they seem to be targeting the general public. There’s some data from a Digital Third Coast previous piece of content that talks about how seniors are targeted Harte says to watch out for your elderly family and friends. "The elderly are a more vulnerable population. Many don't have the family-and-friend guidance to know they shouldn't give this information out."

Click here for some actual examples of Covid-19 robocalls from the FCC Harte reminds you that if an unsolicited call makes you an offer that requires personal information like a credit card number of your social security number, just hang up.

More tips on how to avoid these scammers:

  1. Screen your calls. Don’t answer any calls or texts form unknown numbers. If it's a friend with a new phone number --- your friend will leave a message. If you get calls from the same number block the number.
  2. Register your phone number on the Do Not Call List . This will not block ALL your unsolicited calls, but it usually covers about 75% of them.
  3. If you answer a phone call and the recording asks you to hit a button to stop getting calls just hang up. Scammers use this trick to identify targets
  4. Beware of local numbers. Caller ID showing a local number does not necessarily mean it’s a local caller
  5. Never give out personal information
  6. Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools, they may have apps that you can download to block unwanted calls (full list of apps below)
  7. If you are using robocall blocking technology, it helps to let the company know which number are producing unwanted calls so they can help block those calls for you and others

Photo: Getty

Scammer call identified

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