LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the coronavirus.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers are setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a trick to take your money and get your personal information.
“They (scammers) put ads and stuff online that say they have a cure for coronavirus or a vaccine, and when you click on that, it might actually download malware on your computer,” Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said.
The FTC says the emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips, and fake information about coronavirus cases.
“Medical issues are a big one that scammers take advantage of because it’s scary, and they know that people want to find out what they can do to protect themselves from it so they use that sense of emotion against the consumers and want to try to get your personal information or your financial information,” Babin said,
According to the BBB, one scam email claims the government discovered a vaccine, but is keeping it secret for “security reasons.”
“They’re sending emails, text messages, phone calls, whatever they can do to try to get a hold of a consumer proposing that they have some types of vaccines and things that they can give you to make you immune to the coronavirus, when in fact, none of that’s true,” explained Babin.
The scammers may even ask you to donate to victims of the coronavirus, offering advice on unproven treatments.
“There are also some scams that could be out there asking for donations to coronavirus victims just like any other crowdfunding or any other donations that you’d make,” said Babin. “We just say that you should verify where those donations are going.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus (COVID-19) 2019.
Here’s some tips from the BBB on spotting a Coronavirus Con:
- Don’t panic. Do your research. Be skeptical of alarmist and conspiracy theory claims and don’t rush into buying anything that seems too good to be true.
- Be wary of personal testimonials and “miracle” product claims. Be suspicious of products that claim to immediately cure a wide range of diseases.
- It’s “all natural.” Just because it’s natural does not mean it’s good for you.
- Check with your doctor: If you’re tempted to buy an unproven product or one with questionable claims, check with your doctor first.