As the situation regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 continues to develop worldwide, many states have implemented bans on public spaces to reduce the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, fears of this pandemic have given scammers opportunities to make money through various tactics.
As of March 9, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has identified seven companies promoting false products, including teas, essential oils, and colloidal silver, that claim to protect against or cure COVID-19. The seven companies who have been at the front of the false advertising scams are:
- Vital Silver
- Aromatherapy Ltd.
- GuruNanda, LLC
- Vivify Holistic Clinic
- Herbal Amy LLC
- The Jim Bakker Show
Scammers are also taking advantage of victims by asking for donations and offering fake work-from-home jobs for those who may have lost employment or cannot leave home. The following tips from the FTC can help protect you from these COVID-19 scams.
- Don’t click on links from unknown sources. Clicking unfamiliar links could download a virus onto your computer or device. Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is up to date.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO)
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations, treatment, or a cure for COVID-19. If a medical breakthrough occurs, you will hear about it from doctors or reliable news media first. The CDC or WHO websites would also provide this information.
- Do your homework when it comes to donations through charities and crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe or Facebook. Use CharityNavigator to help identify the credibility of a donation request, and don’t let anyone rush you into donating. If someone wants cash, gift card, or money wire donations, this is a red flag and you should refrain from doing so.
- Be alert to investment opportunities. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions that claim the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19 and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.
For more information about how scammers are taking advantage of COVID-19, visit the FTC’s website. As new developments emerge regarding the coronavirus, we’ll share information with you about how we’ll continue to operate safely and effectively and provide additional resources on our website. As always, please call us at 315.782.0155, or send us a message here, on Facebook, Instagram, or through Mobile or Online Banking.