People warned to watch out for coronavirus scams

 

March 19, 2020

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

People are warned to stay away from this malicious website, claiming to be a coronavirus map from Johns Hopkins University, which infects systems with malware.

Havre Daily News staff

With the world trying to deal with real problems and concerns of novel coronavirus 2019 and the disease it causes, COVID-19, officials are warning that scammers are taking advantage of the fears and trying to trick or coerce people into giving them money or personal information.

In one example, last week, U.S. Health and Human Services warned people a malicious website claiming to be the live map for Coronavirus COVID-2019 is circulating on the internet.

Visiting the website infects the user with an information-stealing program which can take a variety of sensitive data.

It is likely being spread via infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements and social engineering, a release said. Furthermore, anyone searching the internet for a coronavirus map could unwittingly navigate to this malicious website.

People are warned to stay away from the malicious site.

Federal Trade Commission gives some tips to help people keep the scammers at bay:

• People should not click on links from sources they don't know. The links could download viruses onto computers or devices.

• People should watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or experts saying they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the poronavirus, visit the CDC web pages at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and the World Health Organization web pages at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 .


• People should ignore online offers for vaccinations. No vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 - COVID-19- at this time - online or in stores.

• People should do their homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. People should not let anyone rush them into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, people should not do it.

What the FTC is doing

The FTC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration have jointly issued warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent the coronavirus. The companies' products include teas, essential oils and colloidal silver.

The FTC says the companies have no evidence to back up their claims - as required by law. The FDA says there are no approved vaccines, drugs or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent the virus. Read more about the warning letters at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2020/03/ftc-fda-send-warning-letters-seven-companies-about-unsupported .


Stay updated about coronavirus scams by visiting https://ftc.gov/coronavirus .

 

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