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Scam Alert Coronavirus scams don’t let up

Coronavirus scams don’t let up

As Covid-19, continues to spread, scammers continue to cash in. Don’t fall victim to these three scams.

Phony Websites

With shortages of sanitizers, disinfectants, masks and paper products seen throughout the country since the Covid-19 virus first surfaced, BBB warns that websites selling these, and other related products have also surfaced.

An investigation by BBB shows that most of these websites are newly created, within the last couple weeks or so. And, as quickly as they’ve surfaced, many have disappeared already. The perpetrators behind the websites keep their identity private, and often disband the sites soon after they’ve created them and have stolen your money.

BBB has been busy investigating several sites and complaints received since mid-March.

Facebook “Friends”

Plenty of (bored) people who are connected to the internet are using the downtime to catch up with friends on social media or randomly surfing the web. Unfortunately, so are scammers. They will take advantage of social networking sites, earning victims’ trust by pretending to be someone they already know and send out a message or two with a great new cure for Covid-19, a fundraising request or perhaps a discount on the most sought after items such as toilet paper, face masks and sanitizers.

While scrolling through Facebook, a message pops up in Facebook Messenger. It’s your friend, family member, or neighbor. At least it “looks” like them because the profile picture matches. From here, the conversation goes one of two ways. In one version, your “friend” tells you about the latest cure, prevention tactic against the coronavirus or the most awesome deal they found on masks. All you have to do is select a link, share the good news or simply respond to the message. In some cases, perhaps you want to take part in the offer and are ready to pay a processing fee and tax.

BBB warns everyone before responding to such a request, check that the Facebook profile image is from who it says it is. Or, go the extra step and call, text or email the friend to see if they really did send it to you.

Puppy scams with a Covid twist

BBB is receiving reports of potential pet owners being told they have to pay extra for a crate or insurance to have a pet shipped because of the coronavirus. In each of the cases reported, victims were also asked to provide an alternate payment, such as a gift card, or mobile banking option that was not part of the original transaction. These are red flags that the dealer is not legitimate, and they probably don’t have the pet they are attempting to sell.

BBB previously conducted a study reviewing the scope of this problem, who is behind it, and the need for law enforcement consumer education to address the issue. For more information, visit www.bbb.org.

Submitted by Julie Goodwin