Scammers are currently taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus— setting up websites to sell bogus products, using fake emails, texts and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information.
These emails and posts may be impersonating the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), warning of new infection in your area or safety measures one should take in precaution. They also may be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, or contain malicious email attachments. Here are some tips to help you keep scammers at bay:
- Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. It could download a virus onto your computer or device. Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is up to date.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the CDC or experts saying that have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the Coronavirus, ask yourself: if there’s been a medical breakthrough, would you be hearing about it for the first time through an ad or sales pitch?
- Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
- Be alert to “investment opportunities.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure Coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.