Beware COVID-19 Cure Scams
The FBI is warning of a surge in COVID-19 cure-related scams, in which criminals peddle an alleged coronavirus vaccine or treatment, or bogus claims to disinfect homes of the virus.
Here’s all you need to know about these scams.
How the scams play out
There are several variations of coronavirus cure scams. One such scam involves a bogus website allegedly selling a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
During the last weekend of March 2020, a federal court ordered the shutdown of a website, “CornavirusMedicalKit.com.” The spammy site offered visitors a vaccine kit to protect against the coronavirus for just a nominal shipping fee of $4.95.
“In fact, there are currently no legitimate COVID-19 vaccines and the WHO (World Health Organization) is not distributing any such vaccine,” the Justice Department said.
In another scam, victims receive a phone call in which a recorded voice offers to send a free testing kit for the coronavirus. The victims need only pay the shipping charges for these testing kits — which, of course, are worthless.
In yet another scam, bogus cleaning agencies advertise their sanitizing services, claiming they can eradicate the virus from patients’ homes. Unfortunately, after making a payment for the service, the victim never hears from the agency again. In another variation of the scam, the “cleaning agency” shows up at the victim’s home, and performs only a rudimentary cleaning using a solution of ordinary soap and water.
How to spot the scams
With some basic knowledge about COVID-19, you can recognize a scam and keep yourself safe from being victimized.
First, as mentioned, there is currently no approved vaccine or cure for the novel coronavirus. If a company reaches out to you trying to sell you a vaccine or cure, you’re likely looking at a scam.
Similarly, there are no FDA-approved at-home tests for the coronavirus available for the public. If a company tries to sell you one, it is likely a bogus test.
Finally, if you or a member of your family tests positive for COVID-19 and you’d like to sanitize your home from all traces of the virus, there’s no need to call a cleaning agency. You can do it yourself by following the CDC’s guidelines.
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