Here is the latest scam warning from AARP:
A fraud alert from Kathy Stokes, AARP Fraud Watch Network | View email online
There’s no current cure for coronavirus. That won’t stop scammers from trying to take advantage of your stress during the coronavirus pandemic.
As the novel coronavirus spreads, so too have coronavirus scams. The most obvious are companies touting colloidal silver as a defense against the outbreak or selling access to nonexistent vaccines. Others include peddling illegal prescription drugs, impersonating health agency officials, and spoofing or phishing attempts.
These deceptions don’t only raise false hopes and lighten victims’ wallets. Medications that have not been proven to treat, prevent or cure diseases can cause real harm, leading people to delay or stop proven courses of treatment. Read on for an array of scam tactics seeking to take advantage of our coronavirus fears.
Types of Scams
• Scammers use ads, bogus websites, direct mail, email and social media to push herbs, oils, pills, powders, supplements and teas with supposed properties to cure chronic diseases, ease pain, melt away pounds, ward off infection — and now to prevent, treat or cure coronavirus.
• Along with peddling snake oil, shady companies or outright scammers offer actual medications without a prescription.
• Scammers are impersonating federal health agencies in phishing emails designed to get your personal data.
• A map of the outbreak online offered by Johns Hopkins University is being spoofed, and if you click on an ad or email link to a fake map, it will deploy malicious software on your device that will steal your login credentials or your bank account information.
• The internet is replete with fake websites with “coronavirus” or “COVID-19” in their web addresses. Avoid doing searches on these terms and instead go to websites of authorities that you personally trust.
What You Should Do
• Be skeptical. If a claim for an untested or little-known product sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
• Carefully check the email addresses for messages supposedly coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization. Best practice is to visit their actual websites by typing cdc.gov or who.int into your web browser to get reliable, up-to-date information.
• Don’t open attachments or click on links in unsolicited emails or texts about medical products or global health crises.
• Make sure you are up to date with your security software, browser and operating system, and run antivirus software regularly.
• Report scams to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint or to your state Attorney General.
When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family and visit the Fraud Watch Network.
AARP Fraud Watch Network
P.S. Are you active on social media? Do you enjoy sharing information that can help prevent friends and family from falling victim to scams? Become a volunteer AARP Fraud Watch Network (FWN) Digital Fraud Fighter! In exchange for simply sharing the same type of content with your friends and family that you already do, Digital Fraud Fighters will receive access to exclusive scam briefings, plus a Welcome Packet that includes a T-shirt, a copy of the FWN Con Artist’s Playbook, the FWN Watchdog Alert Handbook and more. Interested? Send us a note at FWN@aarp.org for more information!
To report a scam or for help if you or a loved one has fallen victim, contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline.
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