Creative scams

Scammers are very creative too!

One thing we’re seeing across this pandemic is a lot of creativity. Whether it’s healthcare providers finding better ways to care for patients or people acting out famous works of art using photography. Being shut in is having some positive effects.

Scammers are very creative too. Cyber criminals will use a time of crisis to take advantage of our fears, our natural want to help others and other ways to get us to engage with them. CHA is constantly adapting to try and stay ahead of this behavior in order to protect you and our staff.

Look out for these tricks, especially if you want to protect your stimulus check.

  • Texts or emails claiming you can get your stimulus check faster by sending personal information or clicking links that infect your device with malware. Many scammers are experts at recreating logos and make emails look real.
  • Scammers calling you pretending to be an IRS agent, your bank representative or a Social Security Administration worker.
  • Scammers saying you need to pay something in order to get a prize or your stimulus check. Don’t pay anything in order to get money that is owed you.
  • Fake checks – often for odd amounts and requiring visiting a website or calling a phone number. IRS amounts will not include cents, nor will they require visiting a website. Don’t call the number and visit the IRS website to answer your questions.
  • Scammers offering cures for COVID-19 or supplements that can prevent the disease.
  • There is no cure for the disease at this time and there are no drugs or supplements that can prevent you from getting the disease. Focus on washing your hands, wearing a mask, eating well, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress to stay healthy.
  • Texts of emails that look like they’re coming from friends or relatives asking for gift cards or money. Your friend’s email may have been hacked.

What to do?

  • Don’t engage. Delete or hang up when you are contacted by anyone who seems to be Suspicious.
  • Don’t answer your phone unless you know the caller. Let the person leave a message so you can check to see if it’s a legitimate call.
  • Never verify personal information over the phone. No bank or government agency will call you for this information.
  • Question ads or emails selling hard to find items like hand sanitizer, masks, toilet paper, etc. You may be ordering something that will never be shipped.
  • Confirm charity organizations are real before donating.
  • Never send money to someone you don’t know. Money orders, prepaid debit cards and gift cards aren’t secure or traceable.
  • If you believe you have been a victim, file a complaint with the Internal Crime Complaint Center (FBI). Please share important information in your complaint, including the original email if possible.

Get more information from the Better Business Bureau at their COVID-19 scam tracker.

Cambridge Health Alliance

Contributed By: Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health care system committed to serving all members of our communities. We have expertise in primary care, mental health and substance abuse, and caring for diverse and complex populations. CHA patients receive high quality care in convenient neighborhood locations, and have seamless access to advanced care through CHA’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. With over 140,000 patients in Cambridge, Somerville Everett and Boston’s Metro North, CHA is working hard to offer the integrated services its communities need now, and in the future.