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 ). 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:
- Don’t respond to texts, emails or calls about checks from the government. The details are still coming together.
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. There are no products proven to treat or prevent COVID-19 at this time.
- Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from low-priced health insurance to work-at-home schemes.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO. Use sites like coronavirus.gov and usa.gov/coronavirus to get the latest information. And don’t click on links from sources you don’t know.
- Do your homework when it comes to donations. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.
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.