How to spot, avoid and report coronavirus scams

scam-artist-in-maskScammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the coronavirus. In its newsletter, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shares the following Federal Trade Commission tips to help you fight back:

Treatments and cures

Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment or cure claims for the coronavirus, stop. If there’s a medical breakthrough, you’re not going to hear about it for the first time from an ad or sales pitch. At this time, there also are no FDA-authorized home test kits for the coronavirus.

Email and text scams

Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. It could download a virus onto your computer or device. Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is up to date.

Robocalls

Hang up on illegal robocallers. Don’t press any numbers. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from the call list, but it might lead to more robocalls instead.

Government relief checks

Expect scammers to take advantage of this. Here’s what you need to know: The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. The government will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account or credit card number. Anyone who does is a scammer.

Fake charities

Do your homework when it comes to donations. Use the organizations listed at ftc.gov/charity to help you research charities. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card or by wiring money, don’t do it.

Misinformation and rumors

Before you pass on any messages, do some fact-checking by contacting trusted sources. Visit usa.gov/coronavirus for links to federal, state and local government agencies.

For more information

Call 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (1-800-352-9832) and also visit:

fdacs.gov/covid19

ftc.gov/coronavirus

coronavirus.gov

floridaconsumerhelp.com

Report suspicious claims or questionable practices at www.fdacs.gov/contact-us/file-a-complaint

 

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