Dear Placentia Library District Patrons:
While our nation is facing its greatest public health emergency and associated economic downturn, there are ruthless people out there taking advantage of this crisis for their selfish gains. You probably have received spam and phishing emails prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and since COVID-19 scam emails have tripled. We wanted to provide a roundup of current scams with you to protect you and your families from becoming victims to these predators. Below is the information from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Forbes and tripwire.com.
We apologize for the long message as our goal is to provide you with as much information as we can, including images, so you can be well informed.
According to FTC, if you receive the following scam calls about COVID-19 related service, hang up.
- Fake tests for medicare recipients
- Free test kit scam
- Sanitation supplies
- Health insurance pitches
- Mortgage scam
- Social Security Administration scam
- Small business listing scam
If you’d like to hear the scam calls, they are available under “Scammy Calls About the Coronavirus” at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing.
Additional scams include:
- “Corona Antivirus – World’s best protection” website which states “Our scientists from Harvard University have been working on a special AI development to combat the virus using a windows app. Your PC actively protects you against the Coronaviruses (Cov) while the app is running. If you install the program on your computer, the fake app infects your device and enslaves it as a bot for the BlackNET botnet. Below is a screenshot of the website.
- Free Passes to Netflix. Message looks like (click here for images):
As you can see the link isn’t using Netflix’s legal domain, “Netflix.com” The fake site asks people to answer some questions about how they are handling the COVID-19 pandemic and asked them to share the site with 10 other friends. The scammers will use your personal information to do more damage.
- COVID-19 Finder program. For a small fee, the website claims to reveal the number of people infected with COVID-19, around your area. Again, these scammers want access to your credit card information. They’re not interested in collecting the fee. They’re thinking bigger!
- COVID-19 Safety Mask Giveaway: hxxp://coronasafetymask[.]tk
The website promises a “corona safety mask” for downloading their app. The app demands to read your contacts and send SMS messages once the app is downloaded on your device. You will then enter a portal asking for your information with the false purpose of providing you a mask. The app collects all contacts on your device and further expands the scam. Below is an image of the scam.
- Fake Goodwill Payments from UK Government
Victims receives a text message informing them that her Majesty’s Revenue and Customers (HMRC) is offering them a “goodwill payment” of 258 euros.
Additionally, please be aware of the following scamming websites:
As information professionals, we know the value of information and it goes without saying that knowledge is power. We hope you find this information valuable and with it, have the power to protect you and your family from scammers.
Our team misses everyone and we can’t wait to start offering virtual programming to our patrons!