There has been a significant rise in fraud schemes related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic over the last year. Here are some schemes and prevention-tips to help you and your family.
Emails/Websites/Social Media Sites Including:
- Email links to websites/social media sites supposedly providing information on the virus
- Email links to websites/social media sites to calculate or “sign up” to obtain a stimulus check
- Phishing emails requesting you to verify your personal information to process a stimulus payment
- Phishing emails soliciting charitable contributions
- Phishing emails soliciting crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project (like maybe a vaccine or treatment, or sewing masks at home, or building ventilators) by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the internet.
- Phishing emails/website/social media sites soliciting assistance in obtaining airline refunds
- Phishing emails/websites/social media sites soliciting preventions, vaccines, diagnostic tests, or treatments for COVID-19
- Phishing emails and/or websites soliciting counterfeit Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including N95 respiration masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns, and gloves
- Email links to websites to apply for the PPP (Payroll Protection Program) loan/grant
- Fake emails appearing to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Fake websites setup to falsely portray the appearance of selling products related to the COVID-19 crisis
Tips to Avoid Becoming the Victim of Fraudsters:
|Do not click on links or attachments in emails from people you don’t recognize||Verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into your browser.|
|Do not click on links or attachments without researching them first. If you hover over the link you can see the URL/website address. If it isn’t recognizable it probably isn’t a legitimate website.||Check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link (for instance, does a domain end in .gov but should end in .com) or is it slightly altered (www.bhccu.com instead of www.bhcscu.com).|
|Never provide your username, password, date of birth, social security number, account number, or any other personal data in response to an email or a robocall.||When making a purchase from an online retailer, check to see if they have any online reviews prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Look closely at the review dates and the content of the reviews to determine if they are legitimate.|
Obtaining Legitimate Information:
- Report counterfeit products to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov and to the National Property Rights Coordination Center at https://iprcenter.gov.
- If you believe you are the victim of an Internet scam or cybercrime, or if you want to report suspicious activity, please visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.