Better Business Bureau warns: Time to watch out for coronavirus scams

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.

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