Dan Cromer, Director of Information Technology at the University of Florida has seen more than his share of digital wrong-doing. Concerned about the individuals he serves, he recently sent a cautionary reminder to faculty and staff, yet it actually applies to everyone. “It’s tragic to me that some in our society would take advantage of a crisis situation to trick you into some fraudulent operation when you are distracted and less alert for being scammed. Please stay alert for phishing schemes, even in a phone call. During this time, you should be extra vigilant against fraud and watch out for scams.”
In that same email Dan cautioned readers to be on the lookout for:
- Links from sources you don’t know.
- Emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other experts saying they have information about the virus.
- Online, TV, or phone call offers for vaccinations.
- Online, TV, or phone call offers for miracle medicines that can prevent or cure the virus.
- “Investment opportunities” that claim prevention, detection, or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.
Dan added, “More information on phishing and identity theft can be found at https://security.ufl.edu/resources/email-safety/identity-theft-and-scams/. The UF/IFAS Home page has a link to COVID-19 status, being kept current very well by IFAS Communications: https://ifas.ufl.edu/. Do your best to stay safe.”
Giving in Difficult Times
Not only are there information and resource scammers. During a crisis fraudsters pose as charitable organizations and pounce on the vulnerability and generosity of well-intentioned people. Don’t fall victim to their shameful ways. If you want to give, take time to find out how your donations will be used.
Who’s Minding the “Store”?
Both Guidestar https://www.guidestar.org/Home.aspx and Charity Navigator https://www.charitynavigator.org/ are organizations that provide information about how well a charity is being managed. Both of these organizations report a fair and accurate picture of overhead costs, transparency, and executive pay. They’re neutral when it comes to presenting accurate information about how well the administrative side of the organization performs.
But who’s minding the store when it comes to carrying out the mission of the organization? Is our favorite nonprofit actually doing what they claim to do? What amount of good is achieved per hours spent? After all, impact is the impetus for why we donate.
ImpactMatters https://www.impactmatters.org/local-giving-guides/ provides answers to these three questions: What changes as a result of their work have proved meaningful? What would have happened without the organization’s efforts? How do the outcomes compare to the costs? Their analyses reveal some of the most effective and impactful nonprofits directly delivering services for homelessness, health, clean water, veterans, poverty, hunger, climate change and education.
We are all in this together except the scammers. They offer nothing positive. So during these trying times don’t let your guard down. If you have one inkling of wrongdoing, refer to the tips in this blog. Remember, bad player thrive in the most trying times! Stay alert so you do not get scammed.