The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting people of all ages and ethnicities. It has no color and does not discriminate. But, leave it to scammers to be ready to prey upon vulnerable people at a time like this. They have already created several ways for defrauding people and they simply have no shame.
The U.S. Attorney put out a recent press release with a message warning people not to fall victim to these scammers. Their office is working with law enforcement partners to help protect the public against deceitful crooks.
Some examples of scams linked to COVID-19 include:
- Treatment scams: Scammers are offering to sell fake cures, vaccines, and advice on unproven treatments for COVID-19.
- Supply scams: Scammers are creating fake shops, websites, social media accounts, and email addresses claiming to sell medical supplies currently in high demand, such as surgical masks. When consumers attempt to purchase supplies through these channels, fraudsters pocket the money and never provide the promised supplies.
- Provider scams: Scammers are also contacting people by phone and email, pretending to be doctors and hospitals that have treated a friend or relative for COVID-19, and demanding payment for that treatment.
- Charity scams: Scammers are soliciting donations for individuals, groups, and areas affected by COVID-19.
- Phishing scams: Scammers posing as national and global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are sending phishing emails designed to trick recipients into downloading malware or providing personal identifying and financial information.
- App scams: Scammers are also creating and manipulating mobile apps designed to track the spread of COVID-19 to insert malware that will compromise users’ devices and personal information.
Be wary of unsolicited emails and those requesting your personal information online for medical purposes. Legitimate health authorities will never contact you in this manner.