The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in new spending habits and more, including unemployment and a vaccine. All three of these have become targets of scammers.
An expert on such scams is Cleveland Better Business Bureau President Sue McConnell, who joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to highlight these scams and warn listeners who may not be aware.
Online shopping scams
McConnell noted that it is now 18 through 25 year olds who are the main targets and victims of online shopping scams, as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought in a new set of scams.
She said people have become more willing to make purchases from overseas sellers and websites based in foreign countries. Some of these companies will accept payment and then either not ship products or ship the incorrect product.
She said one main example is masks being advertised as a bulk product, then only sending consumers a fraction of the quantity.
McConnell said consumers have been reporting phone calls and mail saying they received unemployment benefits and will need to pay taxes on it. This means an individual’s identity has been stolen and someone is using it to file unemployment claims.
Closely related to this is Social Security scams. She said the Social Security Administration will never call you and ask you to pass information over the phone. The people behind the call will try to steal your identity for use or sale.
COVID-19 vaccine scams
McConnell warned of one final scam that is timely, a COVID-19 vaccine scam. Scammers have found the COVID-19 vaccine list and are contacting people on it asking for direct payment to move up on the list.
She warned listeners that this is not real and you will not move up on the list.