COVID-19 is exposing the dark underbelly of the web for all to see, and millions of people are suffering because of it. You have to be pretty twisted to try and scam people out of their savings during the worst economic crisis in the past 50 years, but that’s exactly what these cybercriminals are doing by leveraging the pandemic to their advantage.
Millions of jobs may have been lost in the past few months, but recovery efforts are already kicking into gear. Financial relief like stimulus checks have been put into motion, and new jobs like contact tracing are opening up. Unfortunately, scammers are paying attention to the news, too. Tap or click here to see how they’re stealing unemployment benefits.
And now, the vital work performed by contact tracers is being hijacked by enterprising scammers desperate for your cash. They’re impersonating contact tracers as they try to steal your info, and they’re pulling out all the stops to seem as convincing as possible. Will anybody trust a call from real contact tracers after dealing with these scammers?
The only contacts these scammers will trace are ones they can steal from
The FTC has issued a warning regarding the rise of a new kind of scam that’s just timely enough to damage American recovery efforts. By posing as contact tracers, these fraudsters are tricking people into ponying up personal information and breaking the trust in real contact tracers that can help keep the country safe and healthy.
Here’s how it works: Scammers will send you a text message with a generic boilerplate spiel about how you were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The message will include a link where you can supposedly learn more or sign up for testing.
But clicking the link is extremely dangerous. These text messages contain malicious links that can install tracking software on your device capable of stealing personal information. Some may even include links to phishing websites where you’ll input the information yourself, which makes it even harder to catch the people responsible.
Ultimately, the FTC says it fears this new effort may make people wary to take real contact tracing efforts seriously as the pandemic drags on. It’s a shame because this vital job not only can help slow the spread of new cases, it’s high-paying and perfect for many Americans that may be out of work. Tap or click here to see how much contact tracers get paid.
How can I spot a scam contact tracer?
Thankfully, the FTC issued detailed guidelines on what to expect from legitimate contact tracing efforts. Messages from local health departments will not include links whatsoever, and will instead give you a heads up that a call is coming your way — complete with the phone number it will come from. As of now, scammers haven’t caught on to this yet.
When a real tracer calls you, they won’t ask you for any financial or identifying information like a Social Security Number. What they may ask you for is whether or…