As Americans await much-needed stimulus checks from the coronavirus bill that President Trump signed last week, federal authorities are warning of a new scam targeting people already wary about the pandemic, Fox News reports.
The FBI’s San Diego office said Monday on Twitter that scammers are texting about offers of “goodies” from big box chain Costco, saying it’s part of a COVID-19 “stimulus package” for the store’s “loyal customers.”
Federal law enforcement has warned in recent weeks of a rise in fraud schemes as the outbreak rockets across the nation.
“Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both,” FBI Special Agent Davene Butler said in a statement.
FBI SEES RISE IN FRAUD SCHEMES RELATED TO THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC
Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both. Don’t let them. Protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; purchasing products online; or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits. The FBI advises you to be on the lookout for the following:
Fake CDC Emails.
Watch out for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other organizations claiming to offer information on the virus. Do not click links or open attachments you do not recognize. Fraudsters can use links in emails to deliver malware to your computer to steal personal information or to lock your computer and demand payment. Be wary of websites and apps claiming to track COVID-19 cases worldwide. Criminals are using malicious websites to infect and lock devices until payment is received.
Look out for phishing emails asking you to verify your personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news cycle, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking your private information in order to send you money. Phishing emails may also claim to be related to:
- Charitable contributions
- General financial relief
- Airline carrier refunds
- Fake cures and vaccines
- Fake testing kits
Counterfeit Treatments or Equipment.
Be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. Be alert to counterfeit products such as sanitizing products and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns, and gloves. More information on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh. You can also find information on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website, www.fda.gov, and the Environmental Protection Agency website, www.epa.gov. Report counterfeit products at www.ic3.gov and to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at iprcenter.gov.
If you are looking for accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19, the CDC has posted extensive guidance and information that is updated frequently. The best sources for authoritative information on COVID-19 are www.cdc.gov and www.coronavirus.gov. You may also consult your primary care physician for guidance.
- Do not open attachments or click links within emails from senders you don’t recognize.
- Do not provide your username, password, date of birth, social security number, financial data, or other personal information in response to an email or robocall.
- Always verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into your browser.
- Check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link (for example, an address that should end in a “.gov” ends in .com” instead).
If you believe you are the victim of an Internet scam or cyber crime, or if you want to report suspicious activity, please visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
This boils my blood just as bad as those stores price gouging during a national emergency, these scumbags target people to steal their money that they desperately need to get food and supplies.
Fox reported that, “The FBI is warning the public that Costco is NOT texting (or using social media platforms) the public or its customers to provide a ‘stimulus check,’ ‘freebies,’ or a ‘stimulus package,'” the FBI San Diego office said Monday. “These messages, containing a malicious link, are a SCAM. Do NOT click on the link.”
Anyone who believes they have been the victim of an Internet scam or cybercrime, or wants to report suspicious activity, is asked to file a complaint on the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. If you believe a store is price gouging you are to contact your states Attorney General office as well as alert the local news stations so they can investigate it.
This is extremely important information that every American needs to see!
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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Dean James at Right Wing Tribune