facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog external search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause

Covid can bring out the best in people. And the worst.

With indoor gatherings prohibited and so many people working from home these days, the 2020 office Christmas party appears to be on the endangered list and with large family gatherings strongly discouraged, a lot of people will be spending their holidays in isolation.

I find both situations to be quite sad.

Meanwhile, vaccinations are becoming a reality and instead of singing “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,” I imagine many are thinking “two Covid shots” instead of front teeth.

Everyone wants this pandemic to be over and people are praying for a return to normalcy in 2021. But there is a danger lurking in the shadows and I encourage readers to not let their guards down.

With the high demand for a limited supply of vaccinations, the environment is ripe for scam artists to come out from those shadows. I don’t want anyone to become a victim of a COVID-19 financial scam.

I can already anticipate some of the scams that might materialize.

For example, an email that informs you that the CDC needs your name, date of birth and a credit card number to hold your vaccination.

Or maybe a phone solicitation from Medicare seeking to verify your personal data so the lines will be quicker when your vaccination is available.

The creativity and imagination of scammers is unlimited. People are tired, anxious, isolated and vulnerable. Not only is the environment ripe for financial fraud, there is no shortage of people eager to take advantage of the current situation to commit that fraud.

As 2020 winds its way to the end, I encourage everyone to exercise extreme caution, and not just for yourself. If you have elderly relatives, please remind them not to share or verify their personal information with anyone.

During the holiday season, I traditionally encourage people to be generous toward those that are less fortunate. And I’m pleased to know that those who are able have been extremely generous. According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, donations in the second quarter of 2020 surged by 12 percent.  That’s after they had fallen by 6 percent in the first quarter.

Donations of less than $250 jumped by nearly 20 percent. I don’t know how the numbers will end for the year, but people have been quite generous with their pocketbooks and their time in an effort to help the less fortunate.

I honestly believe most people would prefer to earn their income rather than being a recipient of handouts. Unfortunately, many have lost their jobs and their businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and some of the policies that have been implemented.

Whether or not you agree with those policies, they have definitely left tens of thousands with little or no income. A lot of hard working people are hurting and they need a helping hand. There are a number of local charitable organizations available to help those in need.

Summing up, don’t become a victim of a Covid-19 vaccination scam. If possible, be generous with those who have fallen on difficult times. If you know someone who is living in isolation, a phone call can go a long way toward putting a smile on a lonely face.

It’s been a rough year, but this is still the holiday season.

Know Someone?

E-mail your questions to kenmorris@lifetimeplanning.com

 Ken is a registered representative of LPL Financial. Securities and financial planning offered through LPL, a Registered Investment Advisor, member FINRA/SIPC. Ken is Vice-President of the Society for Lifetime Planning in Troy. All opinions expressed are those of Ken Morris. LPL and Society for Lifetime Planning are independent companies. Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.