Skip to main content

Beacon Senior News

Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus

Mar 26, 2020 11:14AM ● By Beacon Senior News

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.

Coronavirus scammers

Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help you keep scammers at bay:

Hang up on robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam Coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes. The recording might say that pressing a number will remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.

Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)—online or in stores. At this time, there also are no FDA-authorized home test kits for the Coronavirus.

Fact-check information. Scammers, and sometimes well-meaning people, share information that hasn’t been verified. Before you pass on any messages, contact trusted sources.

Know who you’re buying from. Online sellers may claim to have in-demand products, like cleaning, household and medical supplies when, in fact, they don’t.

Don’t respond to texts and emails about checks from the government. The details are still being worked out. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.

Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.

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 www.cdc.gov

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.

The FTC and FDA have jointly issued warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent the Coronavirus. The companies’ products include teas, essential oils, and colloidal silver.

The FTC says the companies have no evidence to back up their claims as required by law. The FDA says there are no approved vaccines, drugs or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent the virus.

“There already is a high level of anxiety over the potential spread of coronavirus,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “What we don’t need...are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims. We’re prepared to take enforcement actions against companies that continue to market this type of scam.”

File a consumer complaint at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).

Read up on how to survive the coronavirus.