La. residents warned to be on guard as phone scammers set to cash in on coronavirus

Louisiana Network

File photo via WSPA

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)– People in Louisiana are being warned to be extra vigilant as scam callers are likely to ramp up their activity over the next few weeks to take advantage of people being at home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

CPR Call Blocker is predicting that scammers and fraudsters will be ready to strike and take advantage of the situation as more states go into lock-down, and is warning people in Louisiana to be on their guard for a rise in bogus calls.

CPR Call Blocker has compiled the top five active scams that people should watch out for over the next few weeks:

  1. Fake test kits scam – someone may call claiming to offer free Coronavirus testing kits and will ask you for your personal information and health insurance details. A common version of this scam targets diabetic individuals that are higher risk, where a scam caller will offer both a free Coronavirus test kit and a free diabetic monitor.
  2. FDIC scam – scam-callers posing as employees from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will ask you for sensitive information, such as your social security number and bank account information, over the phone as a precondition to receive federal money. Remember the FDIC would never make unsolicited phone calls asking for personal information and money, and especially would not put pressure on you or threaten you.
  3. Charity scam – you may get a call from someone claiming to be from a charitable organisation which is collecting donations for individuals, groups or areas affected by Coronavirus. The caller will ask you to send cash donations in the mail, by wire transfer or by gift card.
  4. Healthcare provider scam – scam-callers pretending to work for a healthcare provider will tell you that a relative or friend has been treated for Coronavirus, and then demand immediate payment for treatment before threatening legal action if you don’t pay. Healthcare providers would not contact you this way.
  5. Student loan scams – you receive a call to tell you that new measures due to the Coronavirus outbreak will have an effect on your student loan, and that you need to ring a different phone number to find out how the new measures will impact your future payment obligations. If you ring this number, a scammer may ask you for personal information like your social security number and credit card details.

As more and more restrictions are put into place in the US, we predict that scammers are going to take advantage of more people being at home and, with many of those people also being distracted or stressed about the Coronavirus situation, this could be a recipe for disaster. When we’re feeling vulnerable or distracted, it can be too easy to say yes to something without checking first whether it’s genuine. We’re warning people in Louisiana to bear this in mind and we would always strongly recommend never giving your bank details or paying for something over the phone that you’re unsure of. Especially if the call you receive is the first time you have heard of any payment that needs to be made.

Chelsea Davies, CPR Call Blocker

If you want to stop receiving scam and nuisance calls, follow CPR Call Blocker’s quick three-step guide to stopping unwanted calls:

  • Register with the National Do Not Call Registry – visit DoNotCall.gov.
  • Don’t consent to being contacted – get your phone number taken off directories and look out for tick boxed on all marketing correspondence to see if ticking or unticking them will prevent your details being passed on to third parties.
  • Consider getting a call blocker.

If you think you may be receiving scam calls, here are a few ways to protect yourself:

  • Don’t reveal personal details. Never give out personal or financial information such as your bank account details or PIN – even if the caller claims to be from your bank.
  • Hang up. If you feel harassed or intimidated, end the call. You have the right not to feel pressurised.
  • Ring the organisation. If you’re unsure whether the caller is genuine, you can always ring the company they claim to be from. Make sure you find the number yourself and don’t use one provided by the caller.
  • Don’t be rushed. Scammers will try to rush you into providing personal details. They may say they have a time-limited offer or claim your bank account is at risk if you don’t give them the information they need right away.

Davies adds, “If you suspect you may have compromised your bank account, contact your bank or card provider as soon as possible. It is also advisable to check your bank and card statements regularly for unauthorized charges as a matter of course.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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