There’s nothing better for scammers than fear and confusion and there’s been plenty of that going around amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The FTC issued a release this week warning Americans to be on the lookout for con artists who might try and scam you as the coronavirus continues to spread through the United States.
According to the release, scammers are using robocalls to try and pitch you everything from getting you money from the promised stimulus check, to magical cure-alls that can stop the virus in its tracks. The agency said people anyone who receives a call from a robocaller should immediately hang up and not push any numbers that will let you speak to a live operator. Oftentimes, that will just confirm your number works for scammers, leading to additional robocalls.
People should also level a critical eye at any information they see online that’s not backed by a reputable source. Even well-meaning people can get caught up in sharing information that hasn’t been verified. The FTC says people should always contact trusted sources before spreading misinformation.
Scammers are also using the Senate’s plan of sending checks directly to Americans as a way to get into your wallet. According to the FTC, “Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.”
The agency also warned people to avoid clicking on any links from sources you don’t know. Any offers for vaccinations or pills, potions, lotions or essential oil, that claims it can treat the coronavirus are fake. There is currently no over-the-counter products to treat COVID-19.
“The FTC and FDA have jointly issued warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent the Coronavirus. The companies’ products include teas, essential oils, and colloidal silver,” the agency wrote on its website.
Health Departments will also not be going door-to-door testing people for COVID-19. The only way to get tested for the coronavirus is through your local public health agency’s directives, which can vary by jurisdiction.