Fraudsters Take Advantage of Coronavirus Panic

Fraudsters Take Advantage of Coronavirus Panic

March 12, 2020

Online retailers are dealing with multiple forms of fraud as coronavirus continues to spread and cause panic globally. A story in Forbes reports that Amazon has removed more than one million products related to the virus and COVID-19, the disease it causes, that it found to contain false claims. 

Reuters reports that consumer victims in the United Kingdom have lost more than £800,000 ($1 million) in recent coronavirus-related scams over the last month. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) said there had been 21 reports of fraud since Feb. 10, many of which involved scams over masks, with one victim paying thousands of dollars for masks which were never received. The Federal Trade Commission is also warning people to be on guard against fraud.

“Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the coronavirus. They’re setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information,” the agency notes in a statement. “The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips, and fake information about cases in your neighborhood. They also may be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, or contain malicious email attachments.”

“Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the coronavirus. They’re setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information”

FTC officials also advise consumers to be careful when making any kind of donation.

“Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.” 

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Joan Goodchild

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