5 Steps Veterans Must Take to Avoid Covid-19 Scams
To wear a homemade face mask or not to wear a homemade face mask is the question we ask ourselves each day of this pandemic. Along with this new normal and the possibility of stay home orders extending beyond May 1, comes scammers who attempt to take advantage of the worries and fears for their own financial gain.
For military veterans like you and me, this is a trying time and being conned is not on our to-do list. For this reason, Empire Resume will show you how to bypass the COVID-19 scams that are running rampant throughout the nation.
Be Wary of Home Test Kits
If you’re interested in discovering whether you’re infected with the Coronavirus, companies like Everlywell, VaultHealth, and Imaware have created at-home swab test or saliva test kits as an alternative.
These home test kits are available for prices ranging from $99 to $150, even though the FDA has not officially approved of the use of these kits.
Scammers are using these kits to prey on veterans and the military community to gain access to personal identifying information such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, and credit card numbers.
This Coronavirus hoax involves direct phone calls to Tricare beneficiaries with offers to ship or sell COVID-19 test kits, according to an article in Military Times.
To avoid being scammed with these test kits, you must avoid any solicitations made by phone or fake promises from any other source besides your physician.
If you believe you are the victim of the phony test kit scam, you should contact Tricare to report the fraud attempt immediately.
Do Not Answer Robocalls
Robocalls are not a new scam tactic, but they still pose a threat on society. In fact, since the novel Coronavirus went widespread in March, Americans were hit with more than 132 million calls per day.
Robocallers have swindled many Americans by posing as Veterans’ Affairs (VA), the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and M3 — the company who makes the N95 masks that prevents the spread of the virus.
To make sure that you don’t get cheated in the Coronavirus robocall hoax, the best action you can take is none at all.
How do you know if you’re getting a potential robocall?
If your phone shows “Scam Likely” or “Private Number” across the screen, these are key indicators of robocalls.
When this happens, you should not answer the phone. Additionally, the FCC recommends the following:
- Hanging up on robocallers
- Blocking robocallers
- Ignoring unknown numbers
If you’ve encountered these types of calls recently, you should file a complaint with the FCC as soon as possible.
Do Your Research and Fact Check Every Word You Hear
Whenever a catastrophic event such as COVID-19 occurs, rumors soon follow. During this time, it is important for you and your family to understand credible sources and non-credible sources.
Credible sources include public health officials, federal, state, and local governmental authorities, and reliable news sources such as Military Times. These sources provide fact-based information.
The non-credible sources include websites created by everyday people filled with opinion pieces. Watch out for non-credible blogs, social media sites, and gossip columns. Non-credible sources are based on the thoughts, ideas, and suggestions of the average person.
These types of sources are most commonly unreliable and contain out of date information.
To help determine whether a source is trustworthy, always look for the words official, and domains such as .gov, and .mil. Many news mediums have the domain .com. Be sure to use the most comfortable news source for you and seek out the highly reliable outlets in the media.
Guard Your Stimulus Check
This week, the IRS began depositing stimulus checks into bank accounts. These economic impact payments will soon begin floating through the hands of U.S. postal workers and into mailboxes of many Americans and veterans alike.
According to the IRS, scammers are trying to find clever ways to get their hands on your money through emails, phone calls, text messages, and mailing fake checks.
The IRS provides some ways you can avoid the stimulus check scams:
- Don’t offer personal information to strangers.
- Don’t open unusual emails or click on strange links.
- Don’t download anything that looks unfamiliar.
- Don’t send money in exchange for your stimulus payment.
Unfortunately, 2 million veterans may not receive a stimulus payment, according to an article in CNBC.
The rules state that 2018 or 2019 taxes will need to be filed before anyone is eligible. But a large number of veterans who depend on disability benefits through the VA, do not usually file a tax return.
This circumstance places a hardship on many of our nation’s veterans’ financial health and mental health as they need the payment the most. The article suggests that officials are eager to resolve the problem.
Know the Red Flags of Job Search Fraud
The Coronavirus epidemic continues to leave veterans and newly transitioned military members without jobs.
Since majority of occupations are labeled non-essential, many employees are struggling with how to deal with furloughs and layoffs.
As you begin the search as a veteran job finder, it is important to look for red flags during career searches.
The devil is in the detail is a common phrase among civilians. To pinpoint job search fraud during the Coronavirus, beware of the following:
- A sense of urgency
- Request for funds through email for job searches online
- Promises of getting rich quick
- The use of a personal email address
- The use of an address that imitates a company email (john@IBMcomp.com)
- Investment opportunities and seminars
LinkedIn is a great tool to locate company recruiters. For every hiring authority that contacts you, search the professional networking site to confirm that the recruiter works the company. If not, this may be a red flag that the job is a scam.
Enhance Your Career Search During COVID-19 With Empire Resume
The five action steps offered above will help you and your family dodge the COVID-19 scams and related hoaxes. If you’re a veteran who’s looking for a new job during the epidemic, contact Empire Resume.
We’re certified professional resume writers who can help you write a winning resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to enhance your career strategy to get an employer to choose you. Call our office today to get started.
Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for service-members transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force responsible for leading nuclear missile security. Phillip is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and holds a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University, an MS in Instructional Technology, an MBA in Finance, and a PhD in Finance.