28 May 2020 at 15:04 UTC
Updated: 28 May 2020 at 15:07 UTC
Scam Spotter aims to help with ‘anti-social’ distancing
Google has teamed up with the US-based Cybercrime Support Network to combat coronavirus-based scams.
Fraudsters have historically shown few qualms about using national or international tragedies in attempts to exploit members of the public.
This pattern is being replicated during the Covid-19 pandemic, as grifters contact individuals online and over the phone to pose as government agencies, offer fake stimulus checks, promise fake vaccines, and more.
Scammers have exploited Covid-19 with alarming speed, taking advantage of fear and uncertainty to the tune of $40 million in fraud losses, according to figures from the US Federal Trade Commission.
While younger adults aged between 25-40 are most likely to be scammed, research shows it’s older people who stand the most to lose, with their median losses more than double the general average.
In response, Google has partnered with the based Cybercrime Support Network to launch Scam Spotter, a website designed to provides expert advice to help people identify and protect themselves from scams.
The advice focuses on three golden rules: 1) Slow it down, 2) Spot Check, 3) Stop! Don’t send.
Sense of urgency
Scammers often attempt to create a sense of urgency so that they can bypass the better instincts of intended marks.
Consumers are urged to double check what they’re told, hanging up on unexpected calls to contact their bank directly, for example.
Scam Spotter contains advice on these points along with guidance on how to report suspected scams to consumer watchdogs such as the FTC.
Kristin Judge, CEO and Founder Cybercrime Support Network, told The Daily Swig that it had seen all manner of scams flare up during the pandemic.
These have included: Department of Labor unemployment scams; charity scams during coronavirus pandemic; and even fraudsters posing as nurses on dating sites to con people out of money in Covid-19 scam.
There is more consistency than differences between Covid-19 scams from regular, often opportunistic cyber scams, according to Judge.
“That is why the golden rules on scam spotter can be used for Covid-19 scams or any other scams,” she told The Daily Swig.
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