The Department of Justice urges Americans to guard against known and emerging scams tied to COVID-19:
- Independently verify the identity of any company, charity or individual that contacts you regarding COVID-19.
- Check the websites and email addresses offering information, products or services related to COVID-19. Be aware that scammers often employ addresses that differ only slightly from those belonging to the entities they are impersonating. For example, they might use “cdc.com” or “cdc.org” instead of the legitimate “cdc.gov.”
- Be wary of unsolicited emails offering information, supplies or treatment for COVID-19 or requesting your personal information for medical purposes. Legitimate health authorities will not contact the general public this way.
- Do not click on links or open email attachments from unknown or unverified sources. Doing so could download a virus onto your computer or device.
- Make sure the antimalware and antivirus software on your computer is operating and up to date.
- Ignore offers for a COVID-19 vaccine, cure or treatment. If a vaccine becomes available, you won’t hear about it for the first time through an email, online ad or unsolicited sales pitch.
- Check online reviews of any firm offering COVID-19 products or supplies. Avoid firms whose customers have complained about not receiving what was ordered.
- Research charities or crowdfunding sites soliciting donations. An organization may not be legitimate even if it uses words like “CDC” or “government” or has reputable-looking seals or logos.
- Be wary of any business, charity or individual requesting payments or donations in cash, by wire transfer or gift card, or through the mail. Don’t send money through any of these channels.
- Be cautious of “investment opportunities” tied to COVID-19, especially those based on claims that a small firm’s products or services can help stop the virus. Carefully research the investment beforehand and visit the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website to learn more about avoiding investment fraud.