FBI warns consumers to be aware of COVID-19 fraud schemes


The Federal Bureau of Investigation is urging consumers to be aware of scams related to COVID-19.

“Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both,” according to a recent FBI statement. “Don’t let them.”

The announcement advises consumers to do research before clicking on any links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowd funding campaign; purchasing products online; or giving up personal information in order to receive money or other benefits.

The FBI says that consumers should also be on the lookout for:

  • fake emails from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other organizations purporting to have information on COVID-19;
  • phishing emails asking for verification of personal information related to economic stimulus checks;
  • phishing emails related to charitable contributions, general financial relief
  • airline carrier refunds, fake cures and vaccines or fake testing kits; and
  • counterfeit products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19.

The FBI also reminds consumers to “use good cyber hygiene and security measures,” including the following tips:

  • do not open attachments or click links within emails from unrecognized senders;
  • do not provide usernames, passwords, dates of birth, social security numbers, financial data, or other personal information in response to an email or robocall;
  • always verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into the browser; and
  • check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link (for example, an address that should end in a “.gov” ends in “.com” instead).

In addition to consulting with a primary care physician, the best sources for authoritative information on COVID-19 are www.cdc.gov and www.coronavirus.gov, the announcement states.

The FBI’s full announcement can be accessed on the FBI’s website.

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