• COVID-19 Scams Proliferate

  • COVID-19 Scams Proliferate

    Be alert for coronavirus-themed scams, from pop-up test sites to fraudulent small business loans.

    April 13, 2020

    ALEXANDRIA,Va.—Fraudsters, scammers and hackers—both digitally and in-person—have embraced the opportunity to create coronavirus-themed campaigns. To protect your business and employees, NACS has rounded up a few of the most common scamscirculating.

    Barracuda spotted 9,116 coronavirus-themed spear-phishing emails between March 1-23—a 667% increase over attacks detected in February. Some emails warn recipients that they have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and they must fill out a form and get tested. Others involve texts that instruct recipients to click on a link to complete a mandatory online COVID-19 test.

    “Pop-up” coronavirus testing sites In Louisville, Kentucky, are being exposed as well. WLKY News reports that “a group has been setting up tents and offering COVID-19 tests to low-income people,” reportedly charging as much as $200 and collecting personal information. But the workers did not state an affiliation with a hospital or health department, nor was the city consulted about the pop-up site. The advice: “You shouldn't be turning over your hard-earned money to get tested. Always seek care from your medical provider first.”

    As small businesses across the country apply for funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), a variety of new scams are popping up, including emails disguised as official correspondence from the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA). Small businesses should look out for these signs of grant fraud, loan fraud and phishing.

    How can you, your employees or coworkers, and your convenience store protect yourselves? Follow this advice from the FBI and the FTC:

    ·  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.

    If you experience any suspected fraud, you may report it to OIG’s Hotline at (800) 767-0385 or online.

    Coronavirus Resources

    NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.