FTC warns of Coronavirus scams

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A personnel wearing protective suit waits near an entrance at the Cheung Hong Estate, a public housing estate during evacuation of residents in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health evacuated some residents from the public housing estate after two cases of novel coronavirus infection to stop the potential risk of further spread of the virus. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

(NEWS10) — In honor of Safer Internet Day, scammers exploiting the fears of Coronavirus are selling bogus products online using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse steal personal information.

Beware of emails or posts spreading awareness, offering remedies, promoting prevention tips, or sharing stories of fraudulent local Coronavirus patients.

According to Colleen Tressler, a consumer education specialist at the Federal Trade Commission, you can protect yourself from Coronavirus fraudsters in several ways:

  • Avoid links from unknown sources—which could install viruses—and keep anti-virus software updated.
  • Watch out for unconfirmed emails saying they’re from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and experts who claim to have insider information. Visit the CDC and World Health Organization directly, instead.
  • Ignore offers for vaccinations, preventions, treatments, or cures.
  • Carefully vet charities and crowdfunding sites, and do not make donations in cash, by gift card, or through wire transfers.
  • Beware “investment opportunities.” The Securities and Exchange Commission warns that scammers are using social media to claim fake stock price increases for companies offering to prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus.

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