Read this article and I'll Cashapp You $500...and other things that won't happen: A look at the latest money making scams
,Covid-19 has forced us to practice our art a bit differently. Gatherings and outings are of course, much smaller and more spread out, and audience reaction is difficult to read due to the presence of face masks. Much of our presentation and performance is moved online. We are alone much more than usual. Many of us have lost our day jobs or seen our workload and therefore pay, greatly reduced. The stress of all this can leave us more susceptible to scams based on our desire to be financially secure, alleviate loneliness, or even stand up for others. Here are three that are especially common both online and offline today.
Cashapp cash for simple tasks/famous product promotion offer posts
Whether you’re in a group to promote your art, work on your side hustle, network for your day job, or indulge in a hobby, you have no doubt seen the posts offering money through Cashapp for completing simple tasks anyone could do. Announcements like “I’ll send $500 to anyone who can type “dOg” or “I have $250 for anyone who can come up with a woman’s name that begins and ends with an ‘A.’” are common. Whenever someone responds, they are met with “Congratulations, click on this trusted link for more information.”
Most of us can clearly see this is a scam, though there have been a surprising number of people responding with the answer to the scammer’s question. Make sure to remind friends and relatives that any money making opportunity that seems much too easy is going to be a scam. And while we know it’s a scam, it may be tempting to click on the link with the goal of telling them off, or reporting the account for fraud.
This is still a mistake. Clicking on the link for any reason is going to open up your computer to spyware. The link contains a virus that allows the scammers access to your computer. This means they can access your social media accounts, any bank accounts or credit card accounts you have accessed through your computer, and other personal information. The scammers can then do anything from open credit cards in your name, drain your bank accounts, and use your credit cards to use your email contacts to run additional scams.
Another, more subtle tactic used by the same scammers begins with a simple question. They might say, “If Coca-Cola offered to pay you $300 per week to post an ad on your car, would you go for it?” These are a little easier to become entangled in, as they can appear to be a survey for someone’s article or academic paper at first glance. Again, avoid clicking on any posted links, as they likely contain spyware. You may also receive a message offering you the “job” advertising the famous product for a small processing fee, but even clicking on the link just to see what’s going on opens you up to identity theft.
Pet adoption scams
Pet adoption scams have been around for a while, but are increasingly seen in groups for pet parents these days. Pet adoptions have increased due to the isolation and loneliness brought on by the recent quarantine and reduced chances for social interaction brought on by Covid-19. Like all tragedies, scammers are here to take advantage of the bad times of others.
This scam may be “classic,” but it is easy to fall for, as emotions may get the better of our logic at this time. The scam itself is simple. The scammer joins a group for fans of parrots or pugs or Chihuahuas or Siamese cats. They find cute pictures of everyone’s beloved animal on the internet, save them, and then post them as their own, with an announcement that the animal in the photo is for sale or adoption, with a “rehoming” fee.
Of course, there is no pet for sale or adoption. The scammer pockets the money, and posts the same pictures offering the same pets to others in different groups.
The best way to avoid this scam is to only adopt pets through dedicated pet adoption organizations, like the local humane society, or from individuals that you already know and trust. If you must adopt a pet from a stranger, and you do not know anyone who can vouch for them, make it an absolute rule that you will not part with any money until you have the pet with you in person.
Face mask exemption cards
None of us enjoy wearing face masks. Some are making the best of it, using our face masks to promote important causes or express ourselves with favorite sports teams logos, fun patterns and prints, or meaningful phrases. But even the meaningful or fun ones make our faces sweat and render every in- person social interaction a bit awkward.
Many people feel their experience of wearing a mask goes beyond mild discomfort. They believe they should not have to wear one, and may purchase “face mask exemption cards” to allow them to enter businesses and other public places and spaces without wearing a face covering. These are not real. The logos that appear to be from the Department of Justice or the Americans with Disabilities Act were copied, and not licensed by the government. No matter how much the person paid for the card, they cannot sue you or your business or organization for denying them entry without a mask. The cardholder was scammed when they purchased the card, and you are being tricked if you believe you must allow them to enter without a mask simply because they have one. If someone could sue you for insisting they wear a mask to eat in your restaurant, shop in your store, or attend your event, then people could also walk into businesses shirtless and shoeless and sue anyone who asked them to leave.
Keep making art. Keep working. And let’s look out for ourselves, and for each other.