pandemic scams | Computer Skeptical


Last year was a banner year for scams. Once the Rona made the news, it took 30 seconds for crooks to find ways to capitalize on our concerns about the pandemic. Here is an overview of some of these scams. My regular reader will recognize many of these as variations of scams that I have written about in the past. This article therefore serves as a reminder to this reader not to lower their guard.

Early last year, many of us received an email from the “World Health Organization” suggesting that you read an attachment with official information on how to protect yourself from the coronavirus. If you were clumsy enough to open the attachment, it would install a little program called a keylogger that logs every keystroke you make on your keyboard and sends that information to crooks. These keystrokes can be mined for all kinds of juicy info including usernames and passwords for your secure sites. The people most susceptible to these issues are those of you who still use Yahoo, AT&T, Bellsouth, and Comcast email addresses. These companies don’t care about you at all and send all these scams straight to your inbox. I highly recommend that you switch to a quality provider such as those from iCloud, Microsoft, or Google. Do it, and you’ll hardly ever see spam, let alone scam emails like this.

Then there were the phishing emails and text messages from “The CDC” that asked you to log into the seemingly legitimate CDC website and then provide personal information such as your social security number so that the CDC may send information on how to protect yourself and your family. This information could be used to steal your identity.

Before the release of safe and effective vaccines, scammers were selling do-it-yourself vaccine kits for $ 4.95. Of course, there were tons of fake Covid supplements and cures sold even on Amazon. Honestly, if you’ve fallen in love with any of them, well, bless your heart.

Billions of dollars were paid in fraudulent unemployment claims last year. People all over the world have filed for unemployment using identities they can find online. Those claims have slowed down for now, but the sharp rise in Rona’s recent cases will likely lead to a further increase. You’ll know you’ve become a victim if you receive a letter from your local employment office or if your boss invites you into the office for a little chat.

In this age of constant claims for cures and miracle cures, there will be many more opportunities for crooks to devise ways to deceive desperate people. Please keep this in mind as we go through this latest round of dislikes from our friend, Rona. You can do your part by reporting suspected fraud by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline (1-866-720-5721) or by emailing NCDF at disaster @ leo. gov.

Jim Fisher owns Excel Computer Services in Florence. Reach it at

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