Scammers prey on coronavirus fears

U.S. & World

(NBC News)  With coronavirus fears heightened and many businesses shut down, scammers are taking advantage.

The Better Business Bureau is seeing a surge in COVID-19 related scams, many in the form of robocalls, looking to steal money and personal information.

Some are offering coronavirus insurance, vent cleaning or testing.

“Anytime someone starts asking for personal information, you need to stop at that point hang up the phone,” warns the Better Business Bureau’s Dolores Salinas.  “Call an official number for that particular agency.”

According to the FBI, scammers are also targeting those looking for relief from the newly-passed stimulus bill, often through email.

“We want people to be aware that that is not how the government operates,” says FBI Supervisory Special Agent Todd Hemmen, “and you will not received unsolicited email from the government for your economic stimulus check.”

There are also emails circulating that claim to be from health organizations, but contain malware.  Hackers are also targeting workers transitioning to a home office and businesses with over stretched IT teams.

“A lot of the business class security software that you enjoy in the office doesn’t necessarily translate to your work from home setup,” warns CNET’s Roger Cheng.

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