Avoid Coronavirus Scams

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to impact the United States, scammers have unfortunately seized the opportunity to prey on people rightly worried about the coronavirus and its impact on them. It’s important to protect you and your family from scams and fraud schemes related to coronavirus.

Government agencies will never call you to ask
for personal information or money.

Consumer Warnings

Potential Scams Related to Economic Impact Payments

Tips to Protect Yourself From Scams

Reporting Fraud

Agency Links

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Consumer Warnings

Several federal agencies have posted consumer warnings and are alerting the public about fraud schemes related to coronavirus. Links to agency websites are located at bottom of the page. 

There is currently no known cure for coronavirus
and any claim to the contrary is false.

 

The FCC and FTC have received reports of scam and hoax text message campaigns and scam robocalls offering free home testing kits, promoting bogus cures, selling health insurance, and preying on virus-related fears. The U.S. Department of Human Services Office of Inspector General Office has reported similar schemes where scammers are offering COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. Fraudsters are targeting beneficiaries in a number of ways, including telemarketing calls, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits.

The FDA has posted consumer warnings about fake websites and phishing emails used to promote bogus products.The FDA has issued warning letters to firms selling fraudulent products with claims to prevent, treat, diagnose or cure coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

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Potential Scams Related to Economic Impact Payments

The IRS has issued a warning urging taxpayers to watch out for schemes related to economic impact payments. Schemes to watch out for include calls, emails, text messages, websites, and social media attempts to request money or personal information. The IRS will never ask for personal information or money.

The U.S. Department of Treasury has warned that any calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, are scams. The Treasury Department has a number of fraud alerts that you can find here. Do not respond and report these scammers to the FBI.

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Tips to Protect Yourself from Scams

The FCC and FTC offer the following tips to help you protect yourself from scams, including coronavirus scams.

Hang up on robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam Coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.

  • Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Scammers are trying to get you to buy products that aren’t proven to treat or prevent the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — online or in stores. At this time, there also are no FDA-authorized home test kits for the Coronavirus.
  • Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
  • Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
  • Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding. Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money.
  • Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren't hacked.
  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before donating.
  • Know who you’re buying from. Online sellers may claim to have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and health and medical supplies when, in fact, they don’t.
  • Fact-check information. Scammers, and sometimes well-meaning people, share information that hasn’t been verified. Before you pass on any messages, contact trusted sources. Visit What the U.S. Government is Doing for links to federal, state and local government agencies.
  • Many consumers will receive checks as part of the federal government response to the coronavirus. No one will call or text you to verify your personal information or bank account details in order to "release" the funds.

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Reporting Fraud

To report fraud any fraud related to coronavirus, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or e-mail at disaster@leo.gov. The NCDF is a national coordinating agency within the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division dedicated to improving the detection, prevention, investigation, and prosecution of criminal conduct related to natural and man-made disasters and other emergencies, such as the coronavirus (COVID-19). Hotline staff will obtain information regarding your complaint, which will then be reviewed by law enforcement officials. More information can be found here.

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Agency Links

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