Scam artists using fears of coronavirus to swindle unsuspecting marks


CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — The death toll across the world from the coronavirus – or Covid-19 – outbreak has topped 2,000, according to health officials. Now this: Scam artists are following the same headlines we are, and their latest trick is to try and con you out of money by jumping in on the coronavirus news.

Scammers are setting up websites, using fake emails, and texts to promote fake information about cases of coronavirus in your area.

“We’re all scared that somebody in our family might get sick. We all want to help people whose families have gotten sick,” says Lora Rae Anderson of the Department of Consumer Protection.

She says scammers will do whatever they need to do to try and get your personal information, and your money. One tactic they use is to ask you to donate to victims of the virus through a scam charity, or to invest in miracle cures of vaccinations – which, by the way, don’t yet exist.

Anderson said you need to know what to look for:

“Take a look at their website before you give money. Chances are these folks are going to pressure you to give immediately, and give by a wire transfer or prepaid card. You shouldn’t go for that. That’s an untraceable form of payment, and they’re just going to be taking your money.

[Also], if you see a real long link in the middle of an email, or even a text message that someone wants you to click on….They want to intsall malware on your computer, for example.”

– Lora Rae Anderson of the Department of Consumer Protection

Right now, Anderson told News 8 she is not aware of anyone here in Connecticut who has fallen victim to the scam.

If you or someone you know gets scammed, Anderson suggests you reach out

“That’s a place where they will not only take your complaint, but they’ll help to walk you through the process of recovery,” explained Anderson.

Anderson stresses doing your research before acting on something you aren’t sure of. She said if something like a “miracle cure” seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If you notice one of these scams or feel you have been taken advantage of, Anderson says you should report it to Dept. of Consumer Protection or the Office of the Attorney General.

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