From Randy Hutchinson, head of the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South
The BBB is warning that scammers are coming out of the woodwork to exploit the coronavirus crisis to steal money and/or confidential information from consumers and businesses. They include:
- Phony treatments and cures that could be dangerous. The FDA, FTC, and DOJ have landed on companies and websites marketing them.
- Bogus offers for government grants and stimulus payments promoted through phone calls, emails, text messages and social media. The crooks say an upfront fee is required to get the money.
- Fraudulent websites selling face masks, home testing kits, and even vaccines. There are no approved home testing kits or vaccines.
- Calls to businesses purportedly from government unemployment offices asking for confidential information about employees.
- Phishing emails with dangerous links and attachments.
- Investment scams.
- And more.
The BBB offers these tips to avoid becoming the victim of a coronavirus scam:
- Be skeptical of miracle cures and consult with a healthcare professional before using any product.
- Check out any seller with the BBB and look for reviews on Google.
- The government will not ask you to pay a fee or provide your SSN or credit card or bank account number to get a stimulus payment. Grants usually flow through non-profits rather than directly to consumers.
- Don’t click on links or attachments in emails, text messages, or social media messages unless you’re sure they’re legitimate. Don’t assume they are because they appear to come from a friend.
- Thoroughly research any investment opportunity and the seller.
For more tips for business owners and individuals, visit the BBB coronavirus site here.