As expected, scams have increased during the current crisis. Phishing emails claiming to be from the WHO or CDC, companies claiming to have vaccines or scammers requesting urgent donations are on the rise. Below is information regarding how to avoid scams, both new and old.
- If someone comes to your door or calls you offering COVID-19 testing, do not let them in or give them personal/credit card information over the phone. This is a scam.
- One such scam involves a fake online coronavirus map that infects visitors' computers with information-stealing malware. It is likely being spread via infected email attachments and malicious online advertisements.
- If you receive an email claiming to be from the World Health Organization (WHO), check the email address. Emails from the WHO only come from addresses ending in @who.int. If it is from any other email address including @who.com or @who.org, it is fake. For more information, visit the WHO.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reported on companies selling fraudulent products online. They recommend “If you see a product out there on the internet that’s being promoted to prevent or treat coronavirus, don’t buy it. In fact, what you should do is report it to FTC or the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).”
- Phishing emails lure you in to click on a link or provide personal information. Some ways to avoid falling for them include:
- Check the email address or link. Sometimes it is obvious that it is a scam. When in doubt, delete the email.
- Watch for spelling or grammatical mistakes.
- Look for generic greetings like Dear Sir or Madam. That is a signal the email is not legitimate.
- Avoid emails that insist that you act now. Phishing emails want to create a sense of urgency so that you click the link or provide personal information.
- Never send money to any person or organization using cash, wire transfer or gift cards.
- Never give out personal information over the phone or through email to someone you don’t know.
- If you receive an email from a company you don’t subscribe to or is unknown to you, don’t open it.
- Do not allow anyone into your home proclaiming to be testing for coronavirus. There are reports of attempted thefts by individuals disguised as public health workers.