Thanks to COVID-19, we are doing more online than ever before -- and so are scammers. They are inventing new ways to get their hands on your cash and your personal information.
George says it started with an email that stated his Microsoft license was set to expire. In order to keep it active, he needed to pay $475. His first thought was that he did not have a Microsoft license in his name, and second, he needed to cancel it so he wouldn't get charged.
He called the number in the email and gave the person on the other end of the line remote access to his computer. He's now out thousands of dollars.
George contacted the Let Joe Know team for help, but unfortunately, scammers are often located outside of the United States, making it almost impossible to get cash back.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, you are most likely to be contacted by scammers during the coronavirus pandemic through bogus websites and applications, spoofed phone calls, and, just like George, fake emails.
From January 1, 2020, to Nov. 24, scammers have gotten away with more than $190 million across the country with $4 million right here in Arizona.
"You know, the way we conduct business online, the way we shop, you know there's a certain amount of vulnerability," said Jason Metz, an insurance analyst at Forbes Advisor.
He says one thing that could give people peace of mind during this digital age is a cybersecurity insurance policy.
Jason says it's typically an add-on to a homeowner's or renter's policy, but it covers you financially in case of cyberattacks like viruses, identity theft, ransomware, and fraud.
"It's worth looking at the way you live your life online, and then talking to your insurance agent and seeing how much coverage you can get," said Jason.
He says some policies cost just $25 a year for $15,000 in coverage. Most also help connect you with fraud specialists and credit monitoring in the case there is a data breach.