Along with taking steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus, there are steps that can be taken to avoid becoming the victim of fraud.
The Federal Trade Commission laid out a set of guidelines to follow to not fall victim of a COVID-19 scam attempt. The FTC said scammers are attempting to take advantage of people’s fear about the virus.
– Scammers are using robocalls to pitch coronavirus treatments and work from home schemes. Hang up on robocalls and do not press any numbers, which could lead to more calls, according to the FTC’s website.
– While there are no FDA-authorized home test kits, there are online scammers selling vaccinations and home test kits that are not proven to work.
– With some stores short on supplies, the FTC warns people about online sellers who claim to be selling in-demand household products but may not have those supplies. To avoid this, buy from verified sellers.
– The FTC said not to respond to texts or emails about checks from the government despite the recent stimulus bill being passed and that anyone saying they can provide money now is a scammer.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and the Internal Revenue Service — Criminal Investigation warned people Thursday about COVID-19 related payment scams, with a reminder that checks will be sent in a few weeks through whatever method is listed on last year’s tax return, according to a news release.
The IRS will not call and ask people to verify payment details; those who receive such a phone call should hang up immediately and not give any bank account, debit account or PayPal account information.
– Anyone who has received a check or has one sent to them in the mail now should consider it a bogus check and an attempt at fraud, according to the release.
People who believe they have been the target or victim of a scam or fraud can report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 866-720-5721 or can email firstname.lastname@example.org.