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Community News Stories

Posted on: March 30, 2020

COVID-19 Scam Awareness

Avoid Coronavirus Scams

While most people come together in times of need, some see it as an opportunity to take advantage of others. Scammers will go through great lengths to appear legitimate and trustworthy. It’s important that we pay attention to the warning signs and protect ourselves from scammers during emergency situations.

Read through the tips below and be sure to report any incidents or scams or fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC.gov).

  • Don’t take the bait, get your information from trusted sources! Beware of products including vaccines, pills, potions, lotions online or in stores claiming to help prevent or cure COVID-19, at this time there is no cure. For updates regarding the coronavirus visit trusted sources such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.gov).
  • Think Before You Click! Pay attention to emails and links claiming to be from CDC or experts saying they have information about the virus; clicking on any of these emails and links could download malware or viruses to your computer making your information vulnerable.
  • Don’t rush into a donation! Do some research before you donate to charities or crowdfunding sites for COVID-19 victims. Be wary of people asking for donations in cash, gift cards, or by wiring money.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Be careful with investment opportunities claiming to have products or services that can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus and whose stock will increase dramatically in value as a result.
    • Don’t be pressured into making immediate financial decisions.
    • Consult with a trusted friend or family member before making a payment.
    • Never give your financial information to someone you don’t know or trust.
  • If it asks for money up front, it’s a scam! There are reports that the government will be providing the public with financial relief help in the form of a check or direct deposit. There are a few important things to remember:
    • The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money.
    • The government will not call asking for your social security number, bank account, or credit card number.
    • This plan has not taken place yet, anyone who says you can get money now is a scammer.
  • Protect yourself while working from home. Make sure your security software is up to date, that all your devices and apps are password protected, and that your home network is secure by turning on the encryption on your internet router.
    • When dealing with confidential office information make sure to keep it in a safe, locked place.
    • If you’re getting rid of any sensitive documents make sure to shred them entirely.

The most important thing we can do right now is to stay alert and take care of ourselves by following the guidelines provided by the CDC. MCAO will continue to monitor trending scams and frauds and provide safety information reminders online.

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