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