HOUSTON - As if the pandemic isn’t bad enough, predators are preying on people who are simply trying to stay safe from COVID-19. So what should you watch out for? Many of the COVID cons are being run online.
"With so many more people going online nowadays the scammers are gravitating there as well, unfortunately," says Leah Napoliello with the Houston Better Business Bureau.
Scammers are capitalizing on COVID-19, even showing up uninvited in email. One recipient, for instance, received a message warning her she may have COVID and should click the provided link to reschedule a test.
"You want to be cautious and not click any links or respond or provide any information. It’s important to go back to the original testing site and ask them if they are in any way affiliated with this entity that is texting you or emailing you," explains Napoliello.
That is if you've actually had a COVID test recently, and receive a similar message, do not click the link if you don’t recognize the sender.
"Because that could then give the individual access to your device. They could install malware on your device," adds Napoliello.
If you’re ordering a home COVID test, con-men have that covered too.
The Better Business Bureau has received complaints from people purchasing on what turns out to be fraudulent websites that are selling everything from masks to thermometers to COVID tests.
"They never receive them or they do receive them and they’re not FDA approved at all," says Napoliello as she reminds us taking precautions in the pandemic goes beyond protecting ourselves from the virus itself.
"You want to make sure you’re shopping on reputable sites that don’t have any complaint issues or other concerns," Napoliello continues. "It’s important to research any company before you shop online nowadays because there are so many scams online."
Napoliello says to look for websites with a legitimate history by checking them out on the Better Business Bureau site and by searching customer reviews to look for any red flags before doing business online.
"You can never be too careful," she adds.