As the novel coronavirus continues to spread both in the US and across the globe, the Better Business Bureau and the World Health Organization have issued warnings about potential scammers taking advantage of the outbreak.
Multiple attorneys general offices — including North Carolina and Washington, D.C — have issued warnings about criminals who may set up fake websites, send emails or texts, or post on social media in an attempt to profit illegally.
How to avoid these scams? Read on.
- Be wary of emails claiming to come from the CDC or WHO
WHO has said it will never ask for direct donations to emergency response plans via email, separate websites, calls or texts. To prevent phishing, WHO recommends users verify the sender by checking their email address, check any links before clicking, be wary of anyone asking for personal information and to report any scams they see to their attorney general office.
- So-called ‘miracle cures’ should spark doubt
“Be suspicious of products that claim to immediately cure a wide range of diseases,” the Better Business Bureau warns. “No one product could be effective against a long, varied list of conditions or diseases.”
And there’s no cure for the coronavirus yet, so anyone claiming to have vaccinations or other treatments for the virus should be ignored, recommends the Office of the Attorney General of Washington, D.C.
- Do your research!
Before donating to a charity or purchasing a product, do research first, advises North Carolina’s attorney general. The organization or product may not be legitimate, and it could be a scam to take your money.