With all the craziness that 2020 brought us with COVID-19 there are now even more scammers lurking in cyberspace trying to separate you from your personal information and your hard earned money.
The Apache Junction Police Department has been made aware of some new scams that the public should be aware of.
With many of our citizens experiencing economic hardship due to COVID-19 there are plenty of scammers out there who are banking on your general kindheartedness and compassion. Bogus organizations are popping up all over, requesting donations to help relieve some of the hardship experienced by your fellow citizens.
The problem is that there are also plenty of legitimate organizations out there that you may want to partner with. Recognizing the difference between a legit charitable organization and fraudulent organization can be difficult but not impossible. There are some red flags you should be watching for to help you make that distinction.
- Scammers tend to rush you into making a donation.
- It’s not uncommon for a scammer to thank you for a past donation that you do not remember making.
- Scammers tend to ask for donation through unusual means such as cash, gift cards or wired funds.
- Scammers may ask you for personal information such as your social security number or bank account number.
If you receive any solicitation for a donation and you are unsure if you are dealing with a legitimate nonprofit organization, do some research before making that final decision to donate. There are numerous organizations that provide ratings, reviews and reports on various nonprofit and charitable organizations. For help determining the legitimacy of charitable organization that you are considering making a donation to, check out the following organizations:
- BBB Wise Giving Alliance
- Charity Navigator
Scammers aren’t just playing on your goodhearted nature, they are willing to exploit your fears as well. Be on the lookout for fake at-home COVID-19 test kits. There are also reports of people trying to sell fake vaccines and cures for the COVID-19 virus. If you receive calls or messages offering you the ability to get a COVID-19 vaccine before everyone else by paying an additional fee, you are being scammed. For information on when and where a COVID-19 vaccine will be available, go to https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/vaccine-support
In addition to COVID-19 and relief organization scams, several citizens have reported receiving texts and emails from someone claiming to be a representative of Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). The messages state that the recipients need to click on a link and update their driver’s license information. According to ADOT these messages are not from them and they are, in fact, fraudulent. Do not click on any unsolicited or suspicious links that you receive in an email or a text. These links are designed to get people to hand over person information. ADOT wants you to know that they use two websites to conduct business with the public: AZMVDNow.gov or ServiceArizona.com.
With all the uncertainty in the world today it’s easy to find oneself a victim of fraud. For more information on fraud and current scams, please contact the Community Relations Unit of the Apache Junction Police Department at (480) 474-5442.