Many people in our country and around the world are fearful of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the repercussions of this pandemic. With that fear comes the possibility of vulnerability to scammers who are capitalizing on these fears in multiple ways.
• They are offering treatments and vaccines. Scammers are claiming they can treat the Coronavirus with teas, essential oils and colloidal silver. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires evidence to support these claims, which these scammers do not have. According to the FTC’s article Coronavirus Scams — What the FTC is Doing, “The FDA says there are no approved vaccines, drugs or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent the virus.”
• They are sending emails disguised to look like they are from reputable sources that can infect your computer with malware.
• They are scamming individuals to donate money to charities that are set up as a scam.
So What Can You Do to Protect Yourself From Scammers?
It’s the same as always, but especially now, don’t let fear impact your thinking.
• Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know.
• Don’t open or click on emails from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). Scammers will try to lure you in with an email disguised to look like it’s from a reputable source. Go directly to the CDC and WHO websites to learn the latest.
• According to the FTC, “There are no vaccines, pills, potions lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products to treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)— online or in stores.”
• If you want to donate to a charity or through crowdfunding, make sure you research thoroughly. Be thoughtful, check it out, don’t rush and never give cash, gift cards or wired donations. You can learn more by visiting the FTC’s website or reading one of their blogs.
It’s important to stay vigilant in this time of uncertainty. Stop and think before you click.
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Our firm provides the information in this article for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other competent advisors. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional advisor who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. Tax articles in this blog are not intended to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding accuracy-related penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The information is provided “as is,” with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.