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Woman working from homeThough Many Americans Are at Home, Scammers Are Still Hard at Work

Scammers are excellent at taking advantage of any vulnerability, real or perceived, in our society.  During this coronavirus pandemic, scammers are devising ways to scam people who are worried, anxious, and looking for help.  In addition to reducing your risk of contracting the virus, you need to keep your eyes out for scammers trying to take advantage of you during this difficult time.

Beware Government Imposters Pretending to Give Out Money

There are reports that the federal government may be giving cash to American taxpayers.  However, the government has not made any firm plans yet.  Naturally, scammers want to take advantage of those reports.

How will they do it?  By calling Americans and claiming to be a government employee.  They might say that to get your check, you need to give them your personal information like your social security number, bank account number, or credit card number.  They might also claim that you have to pay a fee in order to collect your money.  Finally, they may claim they can get you money right away, which is not true since the program is not a reality yet.  If you get any calls like this, hang up.

Scammers May Send Emails Pretending to be the CDC or WHO

Watch out for emails that look like they are coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization.  The emails may be phishing for personal information, or giving bad information about the coronavirus.  For information from those agencies, be sure to visit their websites.  There are also scammers claiming you can “reserve” a vaccine from the CDC with a credit card payment or your social security number — this is not true.

Watch Out for Fake Charities

There are lots of great organizations that help in times of crisis.  However, there are also scammers who will pretend to be doing charitable work.  Be careful and do your research before donating.  Check out a nonprofit on sites like Guidestar before you donate.  And if you are looking to donate, consider donating to an important community organization like Contra Costa Senior Legal Services.

There Are No Vaccines or Products to Cure Coronavirus

Beware the snake oil salesmen of the moment.  Whenever a new ailment arises, fraudsters will try to sell you a product to cure it.  As of now, there are no special products that prevent or treat COVID-19.  The best prevention methods are washing your hands and having good hygiene, keeping your immune system healthy, and staying away from other people.