FCC warns against COVID-19 scams

Published 2:49 pm Wednesday, March 25, 2020

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It is hard to imagine, but even during a pandemic, crime continues and there are those looking to take advantage of people during these turbulent times.

The Federal Communications Commission recently released some consumer warnings and safety tips to keep in mind in order to prevent COVID-19 scam calls.

Several audio samples of scam calls are listed on the FCC website.

The first asks if the person answering is interested in a newly created free COVID-19 test kit.

Another scam involves a recorded message announcing that that they can deliver a wide range of sanitizers, hand wash and toilet paper to a person’s doorstep followed by the option to press the No. 1 if an order is wished to be made.

Preying on people’s fears during this time is not out of the realm of possibility for scammers, to the point where the FCC even listed a scam call of an HVAC company that was offering the option to “protect their loved ones” by purchasing a full air duct system cleaning and sanitizing.

According to the FCC, there have been news reports about possible government-issued checks being sent to consumers. If that happens, “no one” will call or text you to verify your personal information or bank account details in order to “release” the funds.

The FCC advised anyone who believes they have been a victim of a coronavirus scam to contact law enforcement immediately.

Stay updated on new COVID-19 scams that may be out there by visiting fcc.gov/covid-scams. Complaints of a scam can also be filed at fcc.gov/complaints.

The following are tips by the FCC to help protect yourself against scams:

-Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers or any others that appear suspicious.

-Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages or over the phone.

-Be cautious if you are 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.

-Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at the organization’s website) before donating.