Beware of Coronavirus hackers; staying safe from scams

South Carolina News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- During an uncertain time, many of us find comfort in our homes. Unfortunately, that’s where hackers can take advantage of you. Stealing, scamming, and profiting off of fear.

All it takes is one click. Former SC Attorney General Charlie Condon warns about new scams popping up every day.

“It’s the wild, wild west out there right now,” says Condon. The numbers of scams that are out there right now are numerous and seem to be growing.”​

These hackers are using the Coronavirus Pandemic as leverage for false advertisement and traps. For example, advertisements for virus testing equipment, high-demand products and even a “cure” for COVID-19.

While some calls or emails can easily be detected as phony, Condon says that it’s common to fall victim to scams when anxiety is higher than normal.

“Most people do think that they can handle any scam that comes in. But we’re all now checking different websites perhaps than we’re used to, the contacts that are coming in are at a high number,” says Condon.

The Federal Trade Commission shared examples of scam calls that have been circulating over the last few weeks. Here’s a call falsely advertising COVID-19 test kits:

Another concern is children using technology more than usual. With students out of the classroom; they can be an easy target for online predators.

“You’d like to think that when there’s a global pandemic that everyone’s watching out for everyone else, but no. There are folks out there that are seeking to take advantage of this situation and I think it’s really important to be on guard,” says Condon.

Being on guard means staying skeptical. Remembering to not answer calls that you don’t recognize, utilizing a call-screening software and doing extensive research before making a donation.

“The genius of the criminal element is out there is high. So I would encourage folks to be careful, document information, report it, and be safe,” says Condon.

If you’ve experienced a scam in the last few weeks, please share below to help keep the community informed.

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