Generally, during periods of panic or crisis, many cases of fraud arise. When there is a lot of uncertainty, it is easy to be afraid and tempting to believe information from unknown sources. It can be difficult to know what to believe or who to trust.
The United States government has reported some scams related to COVID-19 including the following.
Messages that appear to come from your neighbor warning that the government has issued instructions about the pandemic.
Prerecorded automatic calls offering COVID-19 exams, cleaning services to disinfect the home, mortgage or insurance programs, or informing you that your social security will be canceled.
False promises that a company will help with a cure for COVID-19.
Doctors who have used information from clients seeking COVID-19 treatment to charge for other things.
To protect yourself from deception, fraud, and scams, consider these points.
Know that in the United States, government websites contain .gov.
Trust reliable sources for information about COVID-19 such as the official websites of the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the US federal government), and the Utah Coronavirus homepage. It is possible that the English pages contain the most updated information.
Acknowledge that as of now, there are no home test kits for COVID-19, or treatments or cures available outside of hospitals. Medicines and treatments that have not been fully approved by scientists are not valid and may be harmful. People have died from taking home treatment they learned about in the news.
Remember that if a verified cure, vaccination, or treatment is discovered, it will not be announced for the first time by a vendor.
Hang up on pre-recorded, automatic calls without pressing any buttons.
Do not answer text messages, calls, or emails about government money distribution.
Do not donate money to new or unknown charities with cash, money transfer, or gift cards. Find out if an organization is valid before donating.
Do not share personal information over the phone or internet without ensuring that the person receiving the information is trustworthy.
Do not respond to unknown calls, text messages, or emails. If a message from an acquaintance sounds weird, make sure it really comes from that person.
Do not click on unknown links.
Verify and record the name and address of business owners when shopping online. Note that the website starts with https: when you are paying. The s stands for safe.
Above all, don't act in fear. Take time to breathe, think things through, or ask a trusted person's opinion before acting. Unless it's a medical emergency, you don't have to act without thinking.
You can report instances of fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 866-720-5721 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
*** THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS BLOG PUBLICATION IS ACCURATE AS OF APRIL 1, 2020. THERE MAY HAVE BEEN CHANGES SINCE THE TIME OF PUBLICATION. ***
For more information, see the following government web pages: