While the Coronavirus has got many talking, scammers are looking to cash in on the fear surrounding the outbreak. They’ve been quick to set up phony websites and send fake emails, texts, and social media posts in an effort to scam the public. The schemers peddle bogus products, set up fake charities or organizations, all to commit fraud.
To keep you safe from phony Coronavirus scammers, we offer the following advice:
- Don’t click links from unknown sources. Links in emails, texts, or posted online may contain viruses or malware that can infect your device.
- Watch out for emails that say they are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other experts claiming to have information on the virus. For updated information, check the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) websites.
- Steer clear of online vaccine offers. It is highly unlikely that any breakthrough regarding the illness will come through an advertisement.
- Avoid sending money to charities or organizations you have not properly vetted. It pays to do your research on crowdfunding sites and any donation requests before you agree to give.
- Never send cash, gift cards, or wire money to someone you have not checked out thoroughly. These are the top payment methods crooks use to quickly steal your money and get away without a trace.
- Be on the lookout for investment opportunities that are likely to be scams. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions, even 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.
- Report any scams, fraudulent activity, and issues to Business Consumer Alliance and the Federal Trade Commission.
About Business Consumer Alliance
Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.