Difficult times bring out the extremes in people. While the news is full of stories about altruism during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are countless examples of individuals who have come out with scams designed to capitalize on people’s confusion and fear. Besides being at increased risk of experiencing the most serious COVID-19 symptoms, senior citizens are also at an elevated risk of being the target of scams. To better protect senior citizens and help family members make sure their loved ones stay safe, this article reviews some of the most common scams that have been documented during the pandemic. Knowing about these disreputable tactics in advance is one of the best steps that senior citizens can take to protect themselves.
# 1 – Promises Covid-19 Cures
Major pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer are nearing the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine to the general population, but there is still no known cure for coronavirus. As a result, anyone who tries to sell you a cure or a vaccine is lying. Some of the various offerings that the Federal Trade Commission and the United States Food and Drug Administration have identified that are falsely billed as cures or vaccines include:
- Cannabinol treatments
- Colloidal silver and silver solutions
- Herbal teas
- Essential oils
- Vitamin C therapy
Not only do none of these products cure COVID-19, taking some of these substances could harm you. While none of these medications work to treat the coronavirus, spending on any of these substances could greatly deplete a person’s savings.
# 2 – Phishing Scam
Sheltering at home can greatly help to slow the spread of COVID-19. After all, the fewer people there are to spread the virus, the fewer cases of transmission will occur, and consequently, the less likely that the healthcare system will become overwhelmed. The government has passed various regulations to discourage people from meeting in groups and spreading the virus, but the government has not begun offering financial incentives to shelter in place.
If you encounter emails or any correspondence promising such a reward, realize that this is almost certainly a “phishing” effort to encourage you to share bank account details or other personal information. As a result, the best way to handle such information is to simply delete and avoid clicking on any links.
# 3 – Computer Viruses
One of the most challenging parts of the coronavirus is that before late 2019, there was no information about the virus online. Understandably, people have many questions about COVID-19 and it is natural to perform internet searches to find out as much information about the virus as possible. Not all websites that purport to provide information about COVID-19, however, are genuine. Many scam artists have taken domain names with “covid” or “coronavirus in them. Instead of providing helpful information, these websites spread viruses and steal confidential data belonging to users.
Speak with an Experienced Elder Law Attorney
One of the most critical but commonly overlooked aspects of elder law involves protecting one’s self from various scams designed to steal hard-earned money away from senior citizens. While dementia and Alzheimer’s make senior citizens particularly susceptible as a group to these scams, these scams are often particularly devastating to senior citizens because they’ve accumulated a large number of assets that cannot be easily replaced. If you need the help of an experienced attorney to fight back against any type of scam, you should not hesitate to speak with a skilled elder law attorney. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.