As of March 5th, there were more than 1,262,320 COVID-19 cases worldwide. In the United States alone, there have been more than 239,000 reported cases, including over 7,500 deaths. According to the United States Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, this week is going to be one of the most catastrophic weeks since Pearl Harbor or September 11th. While our nation braces for the peak week of this pandemic, scammers are trying to take advantage of us! These criminals are exploiting fears surrounding the coronavirus. Con artists are pitching scams like coronavirus treatments, work-at-home programs and everything in between. They lure unsuspecting people through illegal robocalls or recordings that say that by pressing a number, you will be able to speak to a live operator or be removed from their call list. Though criminals can be smart, our community can protect itself from these ploys by preparing. Here are a few reminders to help keep you and your family safe from scammers:
- Do not answer unfamiliar calls
- Hang up on robocalls and do not press any numbers
- Dismiss online offers for vaccinations or home test kits
- Always research and check your information for facts
- Know and trust who you are buying from
- Delete texts and emails about checks from the government
- Do not open unknown emails
- Look out for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Watch out for emails from “experts” claiming to have information about the virus
- When donating, always research the charity or crowdfunding site thoroughly
- Do not let anyone rush you into making a donation vigil
- Be vigilant and avoid people asking for cash, gift cards, or wired money donations
Scammers will say and do anything to make a buck. They are targeting us because many of us are scared. Do not become a victim to these criminals. Remember, there are currently no FDA-authorized home test kits for the coronavirus. If anyone is calling you or emailing you claiming that they can get you a government check now is a scammer. Stay vigilant, check your facts, do not open unknown emails. We will all get through this.
These guidelines were provided by the Federal Trade Commission. To learn more, click here.
Readers, if you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, call your nearest medical facility and seek care right away. If you have an underlying condition like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or respiratory conditions, shelter in place and stay away from others or popular areas. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
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