Police Offer Tips to Prevent COVID-19 Scams

The Baltimore County Police Department knows that scammers are out there looking for new ways to take your money. The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is another opportunity for them to steal from the public.

Follow these simple tips to avoid being a victim of a scam.
As the government works on an economic relief package to send money, scammers are sending texts and emails telling the public how to receive this money. Don’t listen to them. As of today, checks haven’t being sent out. Don’t be scammed by speaking with people who tell you they can get money to you sooner. Until the details are finalized, money won’t be distributed.

Don’t click on unfamiliar links. If you do, a virus or malware could be downloaded on your computer.
You might receive false emails from scammers claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The message might say they have new and updated information about the virus. Don’t trust these messages. If you want to get the most accurate information, go online and visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization (WHO),or Baltimore County Government for resources available to residents.

Beware of online offers of medicines to ease symptoms or cure the virus. There are no vaccines, pills, potions or other “miracle” drugs at this time. The CDC and other organizations are working together on this and, rest assured, we will hear when something is available.

Stay away from charities that contact you either by phone or online for a donation, even those that say they represent a well-known organization. No legitimate, charitable organization will ask for donations in the form of cash, gift cards or by wire. Do your research before making a donation. If you want to donate money for a good cause, visit Charity Navigator or the BBB Wise Giving Alliance to learn more about the charity before doing so.

Your phones, either cellphone or landlines, are places for scammers to trick you into giving personal information. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers use illegal robocalls to illicit information from victims. The FTC advises that some callers, often a recording, ask the victim to press a telephone button that will allow them to talk to a live operator. Doing this could land you on a call list for future robocalls.

If you think you may have been scammed, contact the Baltimore County Police Department’s Financial and Cyber Crimes Unit at 410-887-2190.

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