Scammers using COVID-19 to target victims in new schemes

Scammers capitalizing on COVID to prey on victims
Posted at 10:50 PM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 23:56:19-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Amid the confusion and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic are scammers preying on vulnerable consumers.

"All of this comes down to preying on people's fear of getting COVID and potentially having adverse effects," said Caleb Nix with the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee. According to him, scammers are capitalizing on the coronavirus. "One of the ones we recently had within the past couple of days was we've actually seen someone that was trying to require a person to send gift-cards in order to sign up for a COVID test."

Whether it's through text, email or even social media, scammers are also offering at-home vaccination kits or selling an early spot in line to be vaccinated in exchange for personal information.

Vanderbilt University professor Douglas Schmid said, "I think more with COVID though it's taking advantage of the people that are at home, they're impatient, they're cooped up and they're doing an awful lot of online retail."

He warns people to beware of retail copycats.

"I saw another clever scheme the other day where it said we sent another laptop to some other address at some other place and if you think this has been sent in error please click here and let us know," said Schmidt. It was a fake Amazon look-alike email.

His advice? Think before you click. "A lot of times they'll appear visually as if they're coming from Amazon, or Walmart, or pick your favorite retailer, but in fact, they're not coming from those places and if you do a little bit of detective work on your computer you can very quickly discover that where it's taking you is in fact not those links."