Cue the Scammers

As if a pandemic isn’t enough to worry about, have you looked in your email spam file lately? Not only has the message traffic picked up; it contains a motley assortment of come-ons that I’ve never before received.

For instance, there are daily warnings of the need to “protect my family” with a concealed-carry permit. Apparently, I can (as an “American Patriot”) easily bypass the legitimate sources of gun permits to get one “before the Anti-Gun Groups” take away my “2nd Amendement” (their spelling, not mine) rights.

As a former consumer investigative reporter, I’m amazed at scammers’ creativity and persistence. In the last week, my opportunities to be conned include:

  • A “walmart Surprise” $1,000 gift card – You’d think they’d be smart enough to at least capitalize Walmart.
  • Converting my savings into gold.
  • An “unclaimed inheritance fund” at a Chinese bank, awaiting my approval.
  • My FREE credit score – from sites that have nothing to do with the credit companies.
  • A “Zippy Loan” of up to $15,000 – “Deposited in Your Account Next Day!”
  • A protective “OxyMask” sure to keep me safe from the new coronavirus.
  • Shortcuts to signing up for SNAP (food stamp) benefits, Section 8 housing and income-tax assistance – none from anything close to the government agencies that manage these programs.

Of course, what the senders generally want is access to your identity or bank account – or both.

I’m even more amazed that anyone falls for this stuff. But they do, and they fall hard. The Federal Trade Commission says Americans already have lost $24 million to coronavirus-related scams, and Google says it's blocking 18 million scam emails daily.

There's no doubt that keeping yourself safe these days involves more vigilance. I don’t think, however, that it requires a concealed-carry permit.