Beware of scammers preying on fears surrounding the COVID-19 crisis.
If a “relative” of some African royalty emails you and offers to “help” with that stimulus check, DO NOT hit reply. While that is common sense to most, there are some less obvious scams being attempted by cyber criminals during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Many potential scammers are buying up corona- and COVID-related urls in an attempt to trick people into thinking they are legit.
Law-enforcement agencies around the country are warning consumers not to be taken in by a growing criminal underground that wants to make big bucks off the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are some tips and resources from the FTC to help consumers identify and avoid potential scams.
(While these tips are aimed at avoiding CoronaviruScams, they are applicable in almost all circumstances.)
- Don’t respond to texts, emails or calls about checks from the government. The details are still coming together for the stimulus programs and the government is not going to call you, you need to be proactive in your application for assistance.
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. There are no products proven to treat or prevent COVID-19 at this time.
- Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from low-priced health insurance to work-at-home schemes.
- Be very leery of emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO. Use sites like coronavirus.gov and usa.gov/coronavirus to get the latest information. And don’t click on links from sources you don’t know.
- Do your homework when it comes to donations. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.
- Subscribe to alerts for consumers and businesses to keep up with the latest scams. Like the FTC Facebook page; Follow @FTC for the latest tweets from the FTC.
Current FTC Actions
- The FTC and FDA have jointly issued warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent the Coronavirus. The companies’ products include teas, essential oils, and colloidal silver.
- The FTC says the companies have no evidence to back up their claims — as required by law. The FDA says there are no approved vaccines, drugs or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent the virus. Read more about the warning letters.
Federal Trade Commission Articles and Blog Posts to help avoid CoronaviruScams