With times drastically changing in the last year, the opportunities for scammers to prey on those vulnerable has rapidly increased. The COVID19 vaccine rollout that is widely perceived as positive news has also created ways for scammers to get creative. Money Management Counselors Director Leslie Boden acknowledges the uptick in robo-calls and emails in the area imitating places like Walmart or Amazon. The scammer offers things like gift cards or gives false ultimatums.
Emails are a particular thing to keep an eye on as they may try to emulate a brand name in the email address but typically tweak the name a bit such as changing a letter. Boden stresses vigilance when surveying emails and phone calls.
One group that gets preyed on more often are older adults. Boden says it's amazing the lengths scammers will go, especially when calling those who aren’t fluent with the internet or cell phones. A common example includes impersonating a grandchild or someone in jail that needs money. Boden suggests that parents with children have a “junk computer” that is only used for games or other internet play and not connected to an email or financial institution. She encourages people to have a device specifically for banking as well.
Boden says there are places to report the fraud like the FTC, consumerresources.org, or to call MMC to be walked through how to handle potential fraud.