April 19, 2021

News: COVID Scams Targeting Seniors Continue Despite a Majority of Seniors Being Vaccinated

The COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by a parallel outbreak of coronavirus scams, many targeting older Americans.

As of April 13, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had logged nearly 452,000 consumer complaints related to COVID-19 and stimulus payments, many of them involving fraud or identity theft. These scams have cost consumers more than $406 million, with a median loss of $340.

The fraudsters’ tricks include phishing emails and texts, fake social media posts, robocalls, impostor schemes and more. They often coincide with the news headlines, adapting their messages and tactics as new medical and economic issues arise.

Some phony websites and email campaigns promise easy and early access to coronavirus shots. Authorities anticipate a fresh wave of stimulus scams as the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act brings another round of relief payments.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ) and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (IL) released a joint statement Thursday listing five consumer protection bills that the House of Representatives has passed recently to combat these and related problems. Several target scams aimed at seniors.

“If you receive a text message with an unfamiliar link, reply ‘stop’ and don’t click on the link,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “If you receive an email from someone you do not know that contains an attachment, do NOT click on the attachment. And if you get a request to pay for anything related to the vaccine, you know that is a scam because the vaccine is free.”

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