Here Come the Ebola Scams
Well, this was completely predictable! In their never-ending efforts to rip off elders (and others), scammers have been promoting a variety of scams and frauds playing off the fear surrounding the Ebola outbreak. Here are some examples:
- Charity scams claiming to help the victims or stop the spread of the virus.
- Emails with headlines such as “Ebola Pandemic Update” that contain links which, if you click on them, take you to websites geared to stealing your personal information or which download malware directly to your computer.
- Investment offers for companies who make “personal protection kits” or sell supplements purported to prevent or cure Ebola. Some of these are quite elaborate, including phony testimonials to provide what’s known as “social proof.”
Ads and posts have appeared on social media sites for dubious products and companies, and often have an element of “click bait scams” about them with enticing headlines designed to get you to notice them. (To read more about click bait scams see my earlier blog post here.)
So what do you do to prevent getting taken in by the new crop of Ebola scams? Here are some ideas:
- Notice how Ebola scams play on your emotions, especially fear and sympathy. Practice the “First R of Scam Prevention:” Recognize.
- Never click on a link in an email or on an ad on a social media site like Facebook. Remember the basic philosophy for scam prevention: Never let yourself be chosen, always do the choosing.
- Remember to reach out to spread the word about any Ebola scams that come your way or that you see online. Be a part of the growing community of scam fighters and help make the world a better place!
It’s sad that crooks are playing off the fears of many to make a fast buck. Nevertheless, you and the elders you care about don’t have to be their next victims. Keep practicing the skills to “Hammer the Scammers.”
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