Tell Mel: Agencies warn of coronavirus con artists

Tell Mel: Agencies warn of coronavirus con artists

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As we continue to track the coronavirus outbreak, so do scammers.

That has the Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau posting tips to beware of the bad guys trying to take advantage of the current situation.

The FTC says scammers are setting up websites to sell bogus products or vaccines. They also warn off fake emails, texts and social media posts promoting awareness, prevention tips or even fake information about cases in your neighborhoods.

[ Coronavirus: Scammers follow the headlines ]

The BBB warns con artists are impersonating the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) in phishing emails or calling individuals claiming to have a cure.

“There are people representing themselves as the CDC or the World Health Organization that are offering to send a link to your computer with all the information about the coronavirus if you will give them your credit card as a fundraiser," said Carl Bates, a representative with the Better Business Bureau.

“People are calling saying we represent the government. We have the secret vaccine. You have been selected for a test. Send us your credit card and we will send you the vaccine," said Bates.

Here are tips from the BBB on how to spot a coronavirus con:

  • Don’t panic. Do your research: Be skeptical of alarmist and conspiracy theory claims and don’t rush into buying anything that seems too good – or crazy – to be true. Always double check information you see online with official news sources.
  • Be wary of personal testimonials and “miracle” product claims. Be suspicious of products that claim to immediately cure a wide range of diseases. No one product could be effective against a long, varied list of conditions or diseases. Also, testimonials are easy to make up and are not a substitute for scientific evidence.
  • It's "all natural." Just because it's natural does not mean it's good for you. All natural does not mean the same thing as safe.
  • Check with your doctor: If you’re tempted to buy an unproven product or one with questionable claims, check with your doctor or other health care professional first.

If you’ve fallen victim to a scam, or have received a suspicious request regarding the coronavirus, be sure to Tell Mel.

Call: 1-844-KOLD MEL (1-844-565-3635)

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