Dear Hiway Member,
Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the coronavirus.
Over the last few weeks, criminals have been taking advantage of the understandable fears and uncertainty around COVID-19 to attempt everything from selling fake cures to phishing. They’re setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information.
Be on alert for potential scams.
The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips, and fake information about cases in your neighborhood. They also may be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, or contain malicious email attachments.
We encourage you to use trusted sources for news and exercise caution when opening external email, especially when related to this type of content.
Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help you keep the scammers at bay:
- Watch for scams involving coronavirus stimulus checks. There have been reports of potential victims receiving phone calls telling them they qualified for a stimulus payment and they must first pay a processing fee.
- Government agencies do not communicate through social media outlets, such as Facebook.
- A government agency will never request an advanced processing fee to receive the grant.
- 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.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the coronavirus, ask yourself: if there’s been a medical breakthrough, would you be hearing about it for the first time through an ad or sales pitch?
- Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
- Be alert to “investment opportunities.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.
If you come across any suspicious claims, report them to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ftc.gov/complaint. You can also sign up to receive consumer alerts on the FTC website at https://www.ftc.gov/stay-connected.
For more information, as well as tips on how to work with us remotely, please visit our COVID-19 information page.