The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued warnings about scammers who are taking advantage of fears surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19). These unscrupulous individuals are creating websites to sell fake products, make “robo calls” and use fake emails, texts and social media posts in an effort to take your money and acquire your personal information. Many of the individuals we serve at SpiriTrust Lutheran® are older adults who historically have been prime targets by scammers. The FTC has resources that can help you and your loved ones avoid being scammed by these coronavirus fraudsters. Here are some tips provided by the FTC to help you avoid coronavirus scams:
- 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.
- Fact-check information. Scammers, and sometimes well-meaning people, share information that hasn’t been verified.
- Know who you’re buying from. Online sellers lay claim to have in-demand products, when, in fact, they don’t.
- Don’t respond to texts and emails about checks from the government. The details of an economic stimulus are still being worked out.
- Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. They could contain viruses that can be downloaded onto your computer or device.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying that have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) or the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Ignore offers for vaccinations. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure coronavirus — online or in stores.
- Be careful when donating. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, do not do it.