I received an email offering to check on the status of my stimulus check. Is this email safe and reliable?
No. The DOJ has reported scams known as “phishing” emails which falsely claim that you can check on your stimulus money if you provide your bank account information. Do not provide your information to anyone who emails you from an unknown source.
What if they ask for my Medicare information, in order to provide me COVID-19-related services?
Similarly, do not provide your Medicare or Medicaid information to online entities. The DOJ has reported that these scammers use your information to bill false claims to Medicare, without providing any care to you.
What if the email appears to be from the CDC or the WHO?
Do not click on any link in an email claiming to be from a government agency. These agencies will not contact you directly. Often, emails such as these are designed to look like they are from legitimate sources, when in fact they are scams. For reliable information regarding COVID-19, visit https://www.coronavirus.gov/
Should I buy a cure/vaccine/testing kit that I saw online?
As of this moment, there is no cure or vaccine for COVID-19. Anyone claiming to sell one is trying to separate you from your money.
Although testing kits do exist, it is unwise to purchase one online. You cannot be certain that any test sold to you will be accurate or that it can test for COVID-19 at all. If you have purchased and used a testing kit online, you should not rely on the results as you may have received a false positive or negative.
What about robocalls offering to sell PPE or asking for information?
These calls are likely to be scams. The DOJ has reported that these robocalls will receive payment from you with no intent to provide you with PPE.
Should I download an app that helps track COVID-19 or locate testing sites?
No. There have been numerous reports about apps that install malware on your smartphone. In some cases, unsuspecting users have been infected with “ransomware” which locks down your phone and won’t allow you access until a ransom has been paid.
Is it safe to donate to charities supporting coronavirus relief?
Donating to charity is a worthwhile cause, but it is important to research the charity to ensure that it is not a scam before donating. You should do an internet search for the charity in question to make sure there are no complaints about them online. Also, it is wise to avoid paying by cash or by wire transfer. You should pay by credit card or by check, because you can keep track of these payments and you may be able to cancel them if you feel that the charity is untrustworthy.