‘A scammer’s paradise’: BBB of Middle Tennessee warns of COVID-19 scams


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The COVID-19 pandemic is a vulnerable time for Americans financially and the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee says scammers are using the outbreak to take advantage of consumers in several ways.

The BBB of Middle Tennessee has been receiving hundreds of calls a day about different concerns.

“It’s their paradise because they’re preying on us, wanting to react quickly and preying on that fact that we miss our friends, our relatives and we are happy when we get a new text, email or phone call we weren’t expecting,” Robyn Householder, President and CEO of the BBB of Middle Tennessee, said.

If you shared your high school graduation picture to show support for seniors missing out on end of the year activities, you are giving scammers a huge gift, Householder said. Your picture can reveal your school name and graduation year, which are common online security questions that can be used to hack into personal accounts.

“We are getting calls on the daily as well as reports to scam tracker,” Householder explained. “If we have consumers out there that have done this and are concerned about their security, take the post down.”

Even if the post is deleted, you should think about changing security settings for banking and other websites.

Other scams include text messages about expediting your stimulus check or phone calls about whether or not your information is correct to mail the money.

Small businesses are being heavily targeted right now while applying for loans through the SBA.

“There are so many pop-up ads and so many fake websites when you’re doing searches for ‘wonder cures’ like vaccines, which clearly haven’t been developed yet,” Householder added.

Price gouging on products like hand sanitizer, disinfectant products and medical supplies like PPE are on the rise.

Consumers are reporting offers that are too good to be true, including $100 gift cards from Starbucks and $1,000 gift cards from Walmart.

“Don’t do business with something that is soliciting you, you go to the source,” Householder warned.

You can find more information from the Better Business Bureau on their website and find out which scams are in your area by using their scam tracker.

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