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The Info You Need to Protect Yourself From COVID-19 Scammers

One of the most critical takeaways of the on-going coronavirus pandemic is the absolute necessity of good hygiene. But, this extends beyond physical hygiene and into information hygiene as well. Now more than ever it’s important to be conscientious of what personal information you share with the public, and who might be trying to take advantage of it.

Several scams have been recently identified, designed to exploit unknowing victims in order to gain access to personal information, finances, or credentials (user IDs and passwords). As a means of combating these scammers, it’s important to learn how they work alongside any steps you can take to prevent or minimize any consequences.

The Scam: A telephone scam called the ‘Prime Subscription Scam,’ targeting people of all ages. The perpetrator calls to tell a customer that their Prime subscription or order was purchased fraudulently.

The cybercriminal then tells his victim that the problem is the result of a computer security flaw that can only be resolved by getting into the customer’s computer. After this, the scammer instructs the target to download an application called TeamViewer and disable all virus software programs, before logging into personal bank accounts. The application allows the criminal to disable firewalls, providing complete access to the victim’s finances and information.

The first contact can be made through email or telephone.

What You Need to Know:

  • Never give anyone access to your computer unless you initiated the contact and know the person to be legitimate.
  • Amazon states they will never reach out asking for personal information.
  • Do not respond to an Internet or phone offer that you aren’t sure is honest.
  • Do not make a payment to someone you don’t know or whose identity you can’t verify.
  • Do not respond to emails that ask you to provide account information, such as your e-mail address and password combination.
Photos by Adobe Stock

The Scam:
Amazon Prime members may receive fake email receipts claiming that an order can’t be shipped, and that the customer won’t be able to access their account or place orders until certain information is updated.

These emails link to a fake website that looks like Amazon, which steals account credentials as well as personal and financial information. After clicking on the link, victims are told to re-enter their name, address, banking, and credit card information.

What You Need to Know:

  • Amazon will never call or email you unless you request it.
  • Amazon will never ask for sensitive information.
  • If you don’t recognize an order confirmation, or someone is asking for your username or password or requesting that you update payment information, it’s a scam.
  • Typos and grammatical errors are a sure sign of a scam.
  • Always check the “from” line to see where the email came from. It should be an Amazon address.
  • Never click on any attachments or prompts that ask you to install software on your computer.

The Scam: With the knowledge that the U.S. government will be sending people money over the coming month, there is a lot of possibility for related scams to appear.

 What You Need to Know:

  • The government will never ask you for an upfront fee (or any kind of payment) to get this money.
  • The government will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number.
  • Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.
  • If you spot one of these scams, tell the Federal Trade Commission:

The Scam: Cybercriminals are putting out fake coronavirus maps and “informational resources” that are actually malicious links hiding malware that could steal your online credentials, banking information, and credit card numbers.

Scammers have mimicked sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What You Need to Know:

  • Always analyze any URL before you click – ensure the website belongs to whoever it says it is.
  • Stick with a source you trust, such as major newspapers, the WHO or the CDC, and type their URL directly into your browser.

Finkelstein & Partners, LLP is a personal injury law firm founded in Newburgh, NY over 60 years ago. The firm is dedicated to helping the victims of catastrophic injures and their families by holding wrongdoers accountable for their actions. The culture of caring and commitment to the community is evidenced by the firm’s many community programs including paid volunteer time and an anti-distracted driving program for young drivers. Learn more at


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