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Money Matters Blog

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

COVID-19 Texting Scam


The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been raging on American shores for several months, but scammers are still finding new ways to exploit the panic, fear and uncertainty surrounding the virus to con people out of their money. The latest in a string of coronavirus scams involves a simple text message with criminal intent.

Here’s all you need to know about the coronavirus text scam.

The scam starts out with the victim receiving an alarming text message informing them that someone they’ve recently been in contact with is infected with COVID-19. They are then told to self-quarantine and to get tested for the virus.

Here is the actual text from one of these scams:

“Someone who came in contact with you tested positive or has shown symptoms for COVID-19 & recommends you self-isolate/get tested.”

The text also includes a link for the recipient to click for more information. Many unsuspecting people who read these messages innocently click on the link and play right into the scammers’ hands. The link provides the scammer with access to the victim’s device. The scammer can then scrape the victim’s personal information off the phone and use it to empty the victim’s accounts, open lines of credit in their name or even steal their identity.

Other scam text messages happening at this time claim to be from a government agency or testing facility. They may claim you must fill out an online COVID-19 testing form or apply for relief funds online with your personal information.

If you receive a text message like the one described above, do not respond or click on any embedded links. Report the text to local law enforcement agencies, place the number associated with the message on your phone’s “block number” list and delete the message. You can also warn your friends about the circulating scam to keep them from falling victim.

For more information on the latest COVID-19 scams floating around, you can visit the Federal Communications Commission’s page at:  https://www.fcc.gov/covid-scams

Stay vigilant and stay safe!



Your Turn: Have you been targeted by a coronavirus texting scam? Tell us about it in the comments.

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