WORCESTER, Mass. (WWLP) – As the number of cases of the coronavirus increases, schools are closing, restaurants and bars are shutting down, and people are being asked to work remotely and stay home as much as possible.
Now, some criminals are taking advantage of the fear that surrounds the coronavirus, or COVID-19. These scams come in variations and across all mediums including text, social media, phishing emails, and phone calls.
The Better Business Bureau of Central New England has a list of some of the most common coronavirus scams.
- Advertising false cures on social media: These scammers offer testimonials on “miracle products.” There is currently no vaccine available for COVID-19.
- Selling masks, disinfecting supplies or other essentials: Some scammers are creating fake websites that sell masks and other cleaning products. Consumers buy these products, but never receive them, or they receive low-quality products. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) masks are not essential to containing spread in public, save them for the medical professionals that need them.
- Impersonating government agencies: Scammers have pretended they were the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, contacting victims by text message, phone call or email to get personal or financial information. These agencies will never send unsolicited emails requesting personal information. Do not open attachments.
The BBB also added that there will be an uptick in crowdfunding campaigns as local businesses and economies suffer during this time. Scammers know this and can easily create fake accounts to persuade donations that don’t actually go towards a worthy cause.
If you are unsure of an offer or potential scam, contact your local BBB. If you have been the victim of a COVID-19 scam, report it to the BBB Scam Tracker.