By Bobby Alger, Marketing –
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has rocked the world, shutting down international travel and quarantining entire countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those at the highest risk of becoming very sick are older adults and individuals with serious chronic medical conditions. Now, given that the elderly (65+) are the generational cohort with the highest rates of practically all chronic medical conditions (including heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease), the healthcare community is particularly interested in keeping senior citizens out of the reach of the highly-infectious disease.
However, there is another, a man-made plague that comes in the wake of the Coronavirus: scams, frauds, and false information. As with any scare, there are always those who seek to profit off the pandemonium and chaos, stirring up more commotion in a vicious cycle.
Unfortunately, the elderly seem to be the target for these fraudsters who prey on the vulnerable. The FBI noted that older Americans tend to be targeted because they are polite and trusting. Consider a scammer who may pose as a charity asking for donations toward finding a cure for COVID-19. The targeted senior citizen, who has a deeply vested interest in finding a cure and possibly more funds for donating, might willingly agree to wire money to the false charity.
Also, in the interest of protecting and informing family, friends, and community, the elderly may be targeted by producers of false information. A 2019 report published in the journal Science Advances, found that Facebook users over the age of 65 were nearly seven times more likely to share a piece of “fake news” than younger users. Nevertheless, false information can also come in a myriad of formats: an email posing as the CDC, a phone call from a robocaller, or a misleading graph.
The FTC has issued guidelines to avoid falling victim to Coronavirus scams:
- Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. Rather, visit the CDC’s or the World Health Organization’s websites for the most up-to-date information.
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations. There currently are no vaccines, pills, lotions, etc. either prescription or over-the-counter available to treat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.
- Do your homework when it comes to donations. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation and avoid anybody asking for donations in cash, gift card, or wire transfer.Converus®, a lie detection company dedicated to preserving truth, has new technology called EyeDetect that would help in these growing deceptive situations. EyeDetect® is administered by computer, making it fast, accurate and easily adaptable for social distancing. It could hold authorities accountable against abuse of power and give honest salesmen and representatives a way to prove their integrity. Knowing that a source was verified by a scientifically proven lie detection method would increase consumer confidence and decrease fraudulent transactions. See how Converus is helping in the battle against deception, here.
Photo by / Cristina Gottardi