By Jill Webster

The pandemic has presented unique challenges for employees working from home for the first time. Many workers were sent home essentially overnight to establish a viable, productive workspace at home. There are several issues that people are facing with working from home. Many people are sharing workspaces with a spouse who is also working from home. There may also be children using the same space to complete their remote learning lessons. In addition to physical space being challenging, there are distractions from other family members. There is also the stress of issues related to the pandemic, such as concerns for the health of family, keeping children safe, and, perhaps, helping parents navigate their health and safety. Most employees do not have their complete work computer set-up at home. Many are working from laptops or some modified, temporary set-up. Due to all these factors—distractions, stress, and modified workstations—workers are more likely to become victims of fraud and cyber vulnerabilities. Predators are taking advantage of this scenario and using a variety of schemes to profit from this crisis.

In this blog series, we provide tips on how senior citizens can protect themselves from COVID-19 fraudsters. 

 Scammers are preying on seniors who are more isolated and fearful during the pandemic. Here is a list of popular coronavirus scams:

  • Fake home test kits for coronavirus
  • Websites, apps, emails, or texts that promise to track the spread of the virus but instead download ransomware
  • Bogus teas, lotions, supplements, etc. that claim to treat or cure coronavirus
  • Counterfeit hand sanitizer and face masks
  • Get a free iPhone by clicking a link in a text and it loads malware
  • Claims to sell a product that has been hard to find, such as hand sanitizer, takes your money and never delivers
  • CBD-based treatments and cures
  • Robocalls linked to several scams
  • Faith-based or religious miracle cures
  • Fraudulent charities
  • Phony work-from-home scams
  • Fake payday loans

There are many ways to help seniors fight against these fraudulent activities.

  • Be aware of current scams.
  • Stay involved in the lives of the seniors in your life. The best way to prevent an older person from being the victim of a scam is by being actively involved in their life. Visit regularly, if possible. If not, connect frequently by talking on the phone or video chatting, when available.
  • Pay attention while interacting with the seniors in your life – listen for cues for any new products or services that they may be using.
  • Let seniors know that it is wise to consult someone they trust before making any of these purchases or ever sharing financial or personal information.
  • Inform seniors about online and social media fraud.
  • Show compassion if they are a victim of a scam.

Want more information? Download Hg’s Predators of the COVID-Kind FactSheet for free!

Jill Webster first joined Hetherington Group in 2009, then returned in 2018. She has a keen eye for detail, inherent curiosity, and natural persistence that are beneficial when conducting investigations and researching for writing. She works on special projects and is responsible for in-house proofreading of client reports. She creates content for Hg’s blog regarding predators taking advantage of the most vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms. Webster develops material and creates webinars for online safety for children.