COVID-19 (a/k/a Coronavirus) Phone Scams and Otherwise

First, an introduction of what made me decide to post this. Like many here, I’m a technology enthusiast (polite way of saying I’m a geek :slightly_smiling_face:). Despite that, my one concession to the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) is my Ring video doorbell.

Ring’s companion app (running on my Republic phone, of course) has a feature known as Neighbors. Ring also publishes a standalone Neighbors mobile app that may be used by anyone without the need for a video doorbell. Recently, one of my virtual neighbors posted a warning of a scam where folks were going door-to door dressed in white lab coats offering free “coronavirus tests”. While one scammer distracted the target with the fake test, others would rob the home.

What does that have to do with phone scams? Well, nothing directly though as mentioned previously Ring’s app is running on my Republic phone. If anything, one is far more likely to run into a phone (or online) scam than the door-to-door variety. Therefore, I thought it might be helpful to offer a heads up to the Community. The FTC offers some excellent guidance on the topic including:

More from the FTC is linked here: What the FTC is doing.

Those with newer Republic compatible phones might find this to be of interest:

All Republic members (Republic likes to call customers members) might find this excellent guidance to be useful:

In conclusion, regrettably, it’s not only necessary to be more vigilant with our health, we must also be vigilant regarding scams perpetrated by those seeking to take advantage of current extraordinary circumstances. In particular, just as with the virus itself, our elders are among the more vulnerable to scams and are most frequently targeted by those perpetrating them.

9 Likes

With so much junk mail appearing to be “official mail” I was just quick enough to swipe the envelope out of my wife’s hands as she was preparing to tear it in half before opening the envelope. Inside was the stimulus check.

4 Likes

Hi @rolandh,

Thanks for taking the time to write up a timely reminder to be on alert for scams as clever individuals look for ways to take advantage of people’s fears.

I’d like to add to what you’ve written to ask that anyone who receives a COVID-19-related scam call, please tell us about it here with details of the scam. Take note of the date and time you received the call, and include that information with your description. We’d like to look into these reports to at least make sure the calls are not originating on our network or that of any companies we partner with.

2 Likes

There are creeps who prey on people who are not as fortunate to be sharp enough to avoid the temptation to grab what appears to be some saving grace. If you know someone that may be vulnerable, now is a good time to gently educate them of the persuasive possibility that modern technology makes possible. (Full disclosure: I’m including some of my own family in this category.) To be blessed with an IQ that can spot this junk is something not everyone has going for them. I hope this does not sound condescending. It simply is hard for me to hear or to read of someone who has been taken advantage of through not much fault of their own. It is hard for some to believe what some people will trust, but it happens to some of the nicest folks in their most desperate times. Just tell 'em to watch out for the devilment out there.

A lot of good advice here:

2 Likes
Message an
Expert customer