Scams associated with coronavirus pandemic on the rise – here’s what to watch out for

by Contributed Content on April 28, 2020

If you received an email from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the coronavirus outbreak, would you click on the link? If someone came to your door offering a test, would you give them money? Criminals are counting on it.

Scammers are taking advantage of COVID-19 fears by selling fake products online and using false emails to collect your money and personal information. These emails or phone calls may seem to be from trusted resources but are really attempts to get your personal information. Help protect yourself by being aware that criminals are attempting to exploit COVID-19 worldwide through a variety of scams.

There have been a number of reports including:

  • Individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online or at-home testing
  • Scammers may emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
  • Phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Malicious websites, emails, text messages and social media attempts that request money or personal information
  • Seeking donations fraudulently for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations

Criminals will likely continue to use new methods to exploit COVID-19. If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, you can report it without leaving your home though a number of platforms:

-Report a COVID-19 related scam in San Mateo County by contacting the District Attorney’s Office by calling 650-363-4651 or filing out a consumer complaint form.

-Call  your local Police Department

-For a cyber security scam, submit your complaint online to the FBI.

-For any attempt that appears to be from the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), forward it to phishing@irs.gov.

-Contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721

From Menlo Park Updates; used with permission

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