Stay informed and protect yourself from fraud during the Covid-19 pandemic. Learn about the most common Covid-19 scams, including fake cures and vaccines, phishing scams, charity scams, and investment scams. Find out how to report suspicious activity and stay safe online.
As the world continues to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic, scammers have been taking advantage of the situation to defraud individuals and businesses. Below are some examples of common Covid-19 scams to be aware of:
Scammers have been offering fake cures and vaccines for Covid-19, often through social media and online marketplaces. These products are usually ineffective and can even be dangerous. It's important to only trust information and products from reputable sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Scammers have been sending phishing emails and text messages that appear to be from credible sources, such as government agencies or healthcare organizations. These messages often contain links to fake websites that steal personal information or ask for money. It's important to be cautious when clicking on links or entering personal information online, and to only trust information from official sources.
Scammers have been setting up fake charities that claim to be raising money for Covid-19 relief efforts. It's important to do your research and only donate to reputable organizations that have been vetted by charity watchdog groups.
Scammers have been offering "surefire" investments in companies that claim to be working on a cure for Covid-19 or producing masks and other personal protective equipment. It's important to be cautious when considering any investment, and to do your research and check with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for any red flags.
It's important to be vigilant and stay informed about the latest Covid-19 scams. You can report any suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities and if you suspect you have been a victim of a scam, report it to your local law enforcement agency or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Be wary of unsolicited emails and text messages that claim to be from government agencies or healthcare organizations. These messages may contain links to fake websites that steal personal information or ask for money. Only trust information from official sources, and be cautious when clicking on links or entering personal information online.
Be cautious of any offers that seem too good to be true. Do your research and check with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to verify any claims about cures or vaccines. Also, if you're considering donating to a charity, make sure to check with charity watchdog groups to ensure it's a legitimate organization.
Be wary of investment opportunities that claim to be related to Covid-19. These may be fraudulent schemes that use the pandemic as a way to defraud investors. Do your research and check with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for any red flags.
Be careful with providing personal information, such as social security number, credit card information, or bank account information, to anyone online, especially if you are not familiar
During the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers may try to take advantage of you. They might get in touch by phone, email, postal mail, text, or social media. Protect your money and your identity. Don't share personal information like your bank account number, Social Security number, or date of birth. Learn how to recognize and report a COVID vaccine scam and other types of coronavirus scams.
Scammers change their methods frequently. Current coronavirus scams include:
Identity theft when people post a photo of their vaccination card on social media - Don't post a photo of your vaccination card online. Scammers can see and steal your name, birthdate, and other personal information.
COVID-19 testing, vaccine, and treatment scams - Don't trust offers to get early access to the approved vaccine. And be aware that scammers are also targeting Medicare recipients. They're offering COVID-19 testing in an attempt to steal personal information.
Charity scams - Fake charities pop up during disasters. And scammers can also claim to be from real charities. Learn how to research charity claims and protect your money.
Checks from the government - Scammers say they’re from the IRS or another government agency. They ask for your personal information or try to charge you fake fees for getting your stimulus check or offer you a way to get the money early.
FDIC and banking - People pretend to call from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or your bank. They say your bank account or your ability to get cash are in danger and ask for your personal information.
Grandparent and military service member scams - A scammer pretends to be a grandchild or a military service member. They say they're sick or in trouble because of the coronavirus. They contact you asking to wire them money to pay for fake medical or travel expenses.
COVID-19 funeral assistance scam - Scammers pretend to be from FEMA's COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program and call to offer program registration to family members of people who have died from COVID-19. In this way, the scammers can steal the family members' Social Security numbers and other forms of identification.
According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) Elder Fraud Report on scamming statistics 2020.
Learn from the FCC about other types of COVID-19 scams and read and listen to sample text and phone messages from scammers.
Contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud
Report a scam to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov.
If it's an online scam, submit your complaint through the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
Rumors, myths, and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus can be frightening and misleading. Go to FEMA's Rumor Control page to check out the real answers about the rumors you're hearing.
During times of high demand, sellers may raise prices to a very high and unfair level on needed items like:
Household or personal care items
This is called price gouging and it’s illegal. If you suspect price gouging, report it to your state attorney general.