8 Scams That go Beyond Pandemics

Services for Real Estate Pros with IDTheftSecurity.com Inc

As you might know, scammers often take advantage of people during times of trouble, such as in the current atmosphere of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the scams that you should be on the lookout for:

Account Takeovers

This is a scam where the cybercriminals take credentials obtained from data breaches to take over accounts. They are also trying to reach out to kids to give up their account credentials, as they know most of them are out of school.


There are a lot of phishing scams out there that are taking advantage of peoples’ fears about COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, the most prolific are coming out about the World Health Organization, WHO. Preying on fears is a common tactic that people use, and when people click on links in emails that look like they come from WHO, they can get access to your devices, collect private information, and even steal address books.


This is a tactic that scammers use to get access to people’s back account information. The scammer informs people that there is something wrong with their bank account, and that they should call a number. When they do, it is a VoIP number, and the victim can unknowingly give up their personal information, including their banking information.


A smishing attack is similar to a vishing account, except it uses SMS instead of emails or phone calls to lure in their victims. Most of these smishing attacks are focused on the coronavirus and have a sense of urgency to them.

Social Media Attacks

Social media attacks are looking pretty legit these days, and that’s why it’s easy to fall for them. Essentially, they look like a social media post from a real retailer who is giving something away.

Fake e-Commerce Sites

There are also a ton of new fake e-commerce sites popping up, most of them claiming to sell things like masks, gloves, and other COVID-19 related products.

Rogue Mobile Apps

Fake mobile apps are also on the rise, and when downloaded, these apps can install things like spyware, malware, and ransomware on the person’s device.

Work at Home Scams

Finally, we have work at home scams, which are becoming very popular due to so many people being out of work. Often, these scams make people lose more money than they could make.

Don’t be a Victim

Here are some tips that you can use to stop yourself from becoming a victim of these scams:

  • Don’t respond to any texts or calls from numbers you don’t know or that seem suspicious
  • Don’t share any financial or personal information via text, email, or on the phone.
  • Be careful if you are asked to share information or make an immediate payment.
  • Scammers might try to spoof numbers to trick people into answering. Remember, there are no government agencies that will ask you for money or personal info.
  • Don’t click on links that you get in text messages. If you get one from a friend, make sure it is legitimate before clicking on it.
  • Always check that a charity is real before making any type of donation.

These cybercriminals are poised to profit from this pandemic, and they are doing all they can to take advantage of people. So, it’s important that you use caution.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.


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Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

It seems like no end to how far scammers go to scam you. From emails to phone calls i feel bombarded

Jun 28, 2020 05:10 AM #9
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Another one is a realtor offering you leads to list properties send from AR. When you login in the realtor asking you to type in your YAHOO, GOOGLE account and punch your passwords for Contact Phone #.

When you call the referral agent (listed from AR) it lists a phone number pretending to be that agent. I got it twice and only ONE realtor put on her site she got eMail jacked. The other realtor acts as if she is not the victim.....

Jun 28, 2020 06:50 AM #10
Jason E. Gordon
AmeriFirst Financial Inc, San Diego, CA - San Diego, CA
Sr. Loan Officer, CMPS, CDLP, CDRE, RCS-D, CDPE

One of the more useful articles I've read on AR in years.  Thank you!

Jun 28, 2020 08:37 AM #11
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

I always appreciate your articles, Robert!  Thank you.

Jun 28, 2020 09:31 AM #12
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Thanks for sharing!

Cybercriminals are poised to profit from this pandemic, and they are doing all they can to take advantage of people. So, it’s important that you use caution.

Jun 28, 2020 01:55 PM #13
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks for always keeping us up to date on all the scams - it’s never-ending and just keeps getting more prevalent. The more education the better for people to avoid these situations that are suspicious! I see them daily!


Jun 28, 2020 06:21 PM #14
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Great information Robert, sadly, many fall for these scams.

Jun 29, 2020 09:01 AM #15
Paula McDonald, Ph.D.
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

It's maddening, isn't it? We all have enough to keep us busy and these scammers are stealth!

Jun 29, 2020 09:52 AM #16
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Robert Siciliano  we all need to be aware in these trying times 

Jun 29, 2020 01:06 PM #17
Ron Schrader
Elegant Business Cards - Idaho Falls, ID
High-Quality Real Estate Business Cards

I've had close family and friends who've fallen for and been victims of various online scams. You've shared some good info here that hopefully people will pay attention. Much of this can be avoided with a little knowledge on how to protect yourself.

Jun 29, 2020 01:19 PM #18
Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

   The scams keep coming, and the victims keep taking the bait.  A good friend had her bank account cleaned out by some "charity" that she donated to.  She has met with the bank manager, etc. but she will probably never get that money back.

Jun 29, 2020 05:59 PM #19
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

I ignore everthing these days; calls, texts and messages if it's not from a friend or family member or client. TRASH, DELETE and no clicks.

Jun 29, 2020 07:39 PM #20
Paddy Deighan JD PhD
federalfinanciallawgroup.com - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

 'Nother day 'nother way to seperate us from our money or privacy..seems our ability to monitor and enforce scams is greatly overrun by the desire of those to commit piracy  

Jun 29, 2020 09:00 PM #21
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Between email and the telephone, it is never ending.

This year I'd like to make a political donation - but where? Who knows which is legitimate? I donted in 2016 and my credit card was immediately compromised. So - I won't do that again.

Jun 29, 2020 09:51 PM #22
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

It just never stops....constant scams of one kind or another 

Unbelievable that people do fall for them but some do.

this is a good blog to share to people.

thank you!

Jun 30, 2020 02:34 AM #23
Buzz Mackintosh
Mackintosh REALTORS - Frederick, MD
“Experience, reliable, leadership”

Always verify the email address the email is coming from. Starting to receive fake Docu Sign offers from agents I have never heard of. The scammers are rampant right now!

Jun 30, 2020 02:58 AM #24
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Vishing and smishing--haven't heard of those two!  Have to be so hyper viligant about scams all the time.

Jun 30, 2020 01:05 PM #25
Peter Mohylsky. Beach Expert
PrimeSouth Properties - Santa Rosa Beach, FL

I have never heard of a bunch of these but thanks for sharing this information. 

Jul 01, 2020 04:11 AM #26
Deb McGuire CNE, ABR, SRS
Keller Williams Capital Partners - Columbus, OH

Great information!  Thanks!

Jul 01, 2020 05:10 AM #27
Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

The crooks are running too many scams and running out of -ishing words.

Jul 02, 2020 08:49 AM #28
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