A new programme called Scam Spotter was launched by Google on Thursday to spot and stop scammers who are exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic with alarming speed, taking advantage of fear and uncertainty.
The programme simplifies expert advice with three rules when you receive a suspicious phone call or message to figure out if it’s a scam.
The three rules are, “Slow it down, spot check and stop! Don’t send.”
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), people reported $1.9 billion lost to scams in 2019.
Every minute, more than $3,600 disappeared from wallets and bank accounts in response to made-up stories of urgently overdue tax payments, bogus contest winnings, or a smooth-talking online suitor who suddenly needs some gift cards.
“A high-pressure phone call or exciting message can overcome many people’s judgment, especially if they are caught at a vulnerable moment,” said Google.
While people ages 25-40 are most likely to be scammed, research shows it’s seniors who stand to lose the most, with their median losses more than double the average.
The tech giant also unveiled a new website ScamSpotter.org.
“If we learn how to spot the bad actors, we can spend our time focusing on those moments that matter,” said the company.