Avoid Fraud During the Coronavirus Crisis with These Tips
- Individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online.
- Phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Malicious websites and apps that appear to share virus-related information to gain and lock access to your devices until payment is received.
- Seeking donations fraudulently for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office urges everyone to follow these tips to better protect themselves from these types of fraud schemes:
- Ignore unsolicited offers for coronavirus cures, vaccines, pills, or treatment. If there is a medical breakthrough, you will not hear about it first through an email, advertisement, or door-to-door sales pitch. Be aware that fraudsters often use addresses that differ only slightly from the entities that they are impersonating, such as “cdc.com” or “cdc.org” instead of “cdc.gov.”
- Do not share personal information with strangers. Be extremely cautious about unsolicited emails or ads that request your personal information for any purpose. Legitimate healthcare providers will not call or email you and demand medical information, personal identifying information, or money for treatment they have provided to a friend or relative.
- Do not open emails or links from unknown sources. In doing so, you could download malware or a virus onto your computer or device.
- Be extremely cautious when sending money in any form. If a business, charity, or individual is requesting payments or donations in cash, by wire transfer, gift card, or through the mail, be careful. Take extra steps to verify the identity of the receiving party and the security of the transaction.
- Have up-to-date software protections on your devices. Be sure the anti-virus and anti-malware software on your computer or device is operating and up-to-date.
If you or someone you know has been the target or victim of a fraud scheme related to the Coronavirus, be sure to report the incident to the national hotline at The National Center for Disaster Fraud at 1-866-720-5721 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.