Amid the coronavirus pandemic, scammers are capitalizing on people’s sense of fear and anxiety with false claims that often appear legitimate. They are claiming to have testing kits for the virus, medical supplies, health insurance products, and other offers aimed to separate victims from their money. With the stimulus checks about to be issued, we can expect an increase in the volume and sophistication of these scams.
Please take precautions and share these tips with family members.
1. Don’t answer calls from unfamiliar numbers.
Your bank will never call you to ask for personal information. Scammers use illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls instead. There are currently no vaccines or remedies to cure COVID-19. Nor are there any FDA-authorized home test kits for the coronavirus. Visit the FDA or CDC website for official information.
2. Don’t respond to texts or emails about checks from the government.
Any claim that you need to provide information to get your check or to get your money faster is a scam. The checks will arrive via direct deposit beginning this week. If you don't have electronic funds transfer set up with the government, your check will arrive by mail and could take a few weeks or months. There is nothing you need to do to receive your check. Do not provide your Social Security number, bank information, or other personal information to anyone over the phone.
3. Don’t click on links from sources you do not know.
These emails can look very official and use logos from legitimate organizations. But, as soon as you click on the link, you could potentially download malware and infect your computer.
Be especially wary of emails appearing to be shipment or efax confirmations or ones offering a cure for the coronavirus.
Also watch out for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov) and the World Health Organization (https://www.who.int).
4. Please report scams to the FTC.
Go to: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/Details#crnt or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.