Scammers will do anything to take advantage of their victims, even if it means using the on-going global pandemic as an excuse to steal their innocent victims’ money. They have been sending out legit-looking text messages that discuss false job opportunities, cures, emergencies, and more related to the pandemic. These text messages contain phishing links that when clicked on can cause malware on your device that will steal your information. Here are some examples of scam text messages to look out for during COVID-19 and how to avoid them.
Scam Text Messages To Look Out For During COVID-19
Impersonating the FCC
Scammers have been pretending to be representatives from the Financial Care Center (FCC), telling people that they are offering $30,000 in COVID care relief to anyone that clicks the link. Once they click the link, they are told to enter their personal and financial information into the form, so they can deposit the money into their account.
Instead, they receive malware on their device that steals their information. The scammers also commit identity theft with their information and drain their bank accounts.
Impersonating the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Scammers pretend to be representatives of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), claiming that victims need to take a mandatory online COVID-19 test by clicking a link provided.
Once they click the link, they are directed to a form that asks for their personal and financial information so that the test can get their tests sent to their house. However, instead of getting a test sent to their house, they will have their personal and financial information stolen from them instead.
Impersonating the IRS… and News?
A scammer pretends to be the IRS giving a news announcement to their victims. They start their text messages out by stating, “IRS COVID-19 News” followed by how their victims need to register their information to receive additional payments based on their economic statement.
The text message contains a link that victims click on, and it takes them to a website that looks exactly like the IRS website. The website asks for your Social Security Number, date of birth, and filing status. Once you fill this out, the scammer can commit identity theft with your information.
A scammer pretends to be from the customer service department of Netflix, offering customers five free months of Netflix. All they need to do is click on a link to go on their website and enter their account information.
However, once they do this they give scammers access to their Netflix account, their financial information that pays for their Netflix account, and their personal information.
Impersonating Contact Tracers
Scammers pretend to be contact tracers, and ask for your personal information in order to “verify” that you had the virus. They will ask for your social security number, your birthday, and for your financial information to pay them for helping you. However, once they have this information they will commit identity theft and drain your bank account.
Keep in mind that if a real contact tracer contacts you, it’s usually over the phone and they will never ask for payment or for your confidential personal information.
Impersonating Your Stimulus Check
Victims receive a scam text message claiming that they have received their stimulus payment of $1,200 from the COVID-19 Treasury Fund. However, in order to accept the payment you supposedly have to click on a link to “verify who you are.”
Once you go onto the fake website, it asks for you to provide detailed personal information as well as your financial information “so they can deposit the check in your bank account.” However, in reality, they just want to steal all your hard-earned funds as well as your identity.
How to Avoid Scam Text Messages During COVID-19
- Don’t click on any links provided through a text message if you don’t know who sent it.
- Don’t provide any personal or financial information on any website sent to you via text message.
- Before believing in something sent to you via text message, do your research to make sure the text message is legit.
- Report any scam that you have been through to the FTC.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You With Scam Text Messages During COVID-19
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you think you’ve been a victim of scam text messages during COVID-19.