During the pandemic, organizations such as the World Health Organization adjust to different methods of communication. As a means to keep the public up-to-date with important news, they rely on both email and automated text messages. Unfortunately, con artists are catching on and creating their own batch of Coronavirus scams. The Federal Trade Commission released an advisory article of what you should keep in mind.
Hang up on robocalls
Scammers are using illegal robocalls to solicit anything from viral treatments to work-at-home schemes. Some even go as far as to offer a way to unsubscribe. When you receive a robocall, do not speak or press a response. Doing so will alert the scammer that the number is valid, and they will most likely call again in the future. Instead, get out of this Coronavirus scam by hanging up.
Avoid the at-home test kit
Currently, there are zero FDA approvals for at-home test kits. If you put your data to purchase one online, you run the risk of being a victim to a scam. Consumers can arm themselves against misinformation by learning the facts regarding COVID-19.
Beware of text messages regarding your stimulus check
In about three weeks, the IRS and US Treasury Department will begin distributing economic impact payments. With the expectation of stimulus checks, a new set of phishing messages make way. These arbitrary texts ask for your banking information, along with other personal data. They state that failure to provide the information will result in a delay in payment. Please be aware that the text messages are fake. Additionally, they do not come from the IRS or US Treasury.
Do not download attachments from CDC or WHO emails
Scammers have found ways to send spoof emails, and once you download the attachment, your computer becomes corrupted. These emails look real, and the sender appears to be from either the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Learn how scammers can send fake emails from real domains here.
Report Coronavirus scams
To report Coronavirus scams or other illegal activity, visit the FTC Complaint Assistant. Furthermore, you may continue monitoring your local news outlet for updates.