Police Issue Warning About New Coronavirus Text Scam: ‘Do Not Click The Link’
Police notified the public of a new coronavirus text message scam that seems to be gaining traction as the FTC reported a spike in complaints.
Police officials took to social media this week to warn the public about a coronavirus text message scam that seems to be gaining traction. This new scam is just one of many as the FTC reports a surge in COVID-19 related scams.
Coronavirus Scam In Maine
WJLA reported that the Thomaston Police Department in Maine took to Facebook on Wednesday to post a photo of the alert that those targeted in the scam are receiving on their phones.
The message was sent to a resident of Maine from an Indiana phone number. It said to go into self isolation because they had come in contact with someone who tested positive with COVID-19.
The alert also urged the recipient to get tested for the virus.
“If you receive a text message like the one pictured, DO NOT click the link!”, Thomaston Police wrote in the warning.
“It is not a message from any official agency. It is however a gateway for bad actors to find their way into your world.”
The police department added that it may be an intricate phishing scam to get your personal information.
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“The virus is not the only invisible enemy,” police said. “Be vigilant against all threats!”
RELATED: Consumers Beware: FDA, FTC Cracking Down On Fake Coronavirus Drugs
Coronavirus Scams Are Happening All Over America
This comes after CNN reported that law enforcement has said that they are facing an onslaught of different coronavirus scams that could go on for years.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said that one of the scams comes from a phone call that looks like it comes from a healthcare or government official.
The recipient of the call is then told to give their credit card information over the phone in order to prepay the hospital bills.
“Everyone’s so isolated. No one really knows where anybody is,” Nessel explained. “It’s so easy to prey upon people when they are literally scared for their lives.”
FTC Reports Uptick In Coronavirus Scams
The FTC is the main national agency that deals with these scams. So far, the FTC reports that they have received 17,000 complaints from all 50 states related to COVID-19.
NEW: FTC reports huge jump in coronavirus-related scam complaints https://t.co/PAuOmVsVTj pic.twitter.com/7twwcaE9AA
— The Hill (@thehill) March 31, 2020
That is significant when you consider how many scams are going unreported right now.
“We’ve already seen text messaging offers where people are saying, ‘Let me help you get access to government grant money,'” said Monica Vaca, a consumer response director at the FTC. “That is what I expect is coming in a big wave of complaints.”
She added that before this all started, the FTC was still shutting down financial fraudsters who targeted consumers years after the 2009 stimulus, and she expects coronavirus-related scams to last just as long.
“This is not the type of fraud situation that will last a short period of time — like we see with hurricanes,” Vaca said.
Here are some things the FTC says we all can do to avoid falling victim to a scam:
5 things you can do to avoid a #Coronavirus scam:
1. Ignore offers for vaccinations and home testing kits
2. Hang up on robocalls
3. Watch out for phishing emails and text messages
4. Research before you donate
5. Stay in the know — Go to https://t.co/U9eC573LGk for more info pic.twitter.com/Tq1aT21ddV
— FTC (@FTC) April 9, 2020
Many people are vulnerable right now. These are uncertain times with challenges ranging from employment to health to finances.
So it’s despicable that these shameless scammers see a deadly pandemic as an opportunity to prey on the vulnerable.
Please be vigilant when it comes to these types of scams, and don’t let yourself fall victim.
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