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."
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Beware of local numbers. Caller ID showing a local number does not necessarily mean it’s a local caller
- Never give out personal information
- 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)
- 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