Phishing Scams Targeting the Food Insecure

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It’s hard to forget the iconic images 2020 has had to offer with long lines of cars snaking through parking lots at food banks. Food insecurity has long been an issue. Vulnerable populations have been hit especially hard during COVID-19.

While countless individuals and organizations have stepped up to help fill the need, others have ventured to exploitation. For example, this phishing scam: a friend of a friend sends you a link through Facebook or What’s App. It offers free help. Sometimes it mentions something about food grants from places like Whole Foods, Walmart, Target. Other times there are promises of coupons or giveaways. But the common thing is that there is always a link. Whatever you do, do not press the link.

Pressing the link can install malware onto your computer, which can hack into your email or gather up sensitive data like personal and financial information.

Delete this message, thread, or email right away and report it as spam or phishing. If a friend sent you the link, get back to them on a different platform, and ask them if they sent the link. Chances are their accounts were hacked.

If you did press the link, take action. Update your software. Change your passwords. Use a reputable system to scan your device for malware. Report the instance to the Federal Trade Commission here. (insert link)

Remember, if you or someone you know need help with access to food, countless organizations are fighting for you and your family.

If you feel like you are in the position to help fight food insecurity by donating to a local food bank or volunteering, please do so. RSVP – Northern Virginia has partnered with community organizations fighting food insecurity. If you are 55 or older, you can contact volunteer specialist Shannon White at to help you begin/continue your volunteer journey in Fairfax County, and the city of Arlington and Alexandria.

RSVP – Northern Virginia recognizes that while many of our 55 and better population want to help, they may be unable to do so, as they would put themselves at risk. Please make sure to take proper precautions. One is much more effective in creating a better and safer community after they have taken proper care of themselves.


Written by Vida Mikalcius