As coronavirus fears spread, so are scams piggybacking on the deadly outbreak – The Sun

AS coronavirus fears spread, so are the scams piggybacking on the deadly outbreak.

Internet users are urged to be weary of phishing emails, fake URLs, and companies making false claims.

The Secret Service warned about “phishing" in a Monday press release, which they describe as "the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies."

The fraudulent emails are created to push people to reveal personal information like passwords and credit card numbers.

According to the Secret Service: "The Coronavirus is a prime opportunity for enterprising criminals because it plays on one of the basic human conditions…fear.

"Fear can cause normally scrupulous individuals to let their guard down and fall victim to social engineering scams, phishing scams, non-delivery scams, and auction fraud scams."

Johns Hopkins' COVID-19 dashboard is a useful tool to obtain facts on coronavirus numbers, but a fake-map has been created as a scam and it looks identical to the university's map.

The fake-map – – has an embedded malware that steals usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and other data stored in the user’s browser, American Banker reported.

There are currently no approved vaccines, drugs or investigational products available to treat or prevent COVID-19, according to the FDA.

According to an announcement, shared Monday, by the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration, seven companies have been sent warning letters.

The companies – Vital Silver, Aromatherapy Ltd., N-ergetics, GuruNanda, LLC, Vivify Holistic Clinic, Herbal Amy LLC, and The Jim Bakker Show – are now required to follow up with the FTC and FDA.

The've all been found to have "unapproved and misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent the Coronavirus."

The companies sold teas, essential oils, and colloidal silver.

Joe Simmons, chairman of the FTC, stated: "There already is a high level of anxiety over the potential spread of coronavirus."

"What we don't need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims.

"These warnings are just the first step. We're prepared to take enforcement actions against companies that continue to market this type of scam."

In order to avoid scams, the Federal Trade Commission suggests internet users to refrain from clicking on links from unknown sources and ignore online offers for vaccinations.

It is suggested to research crowdfunding websites and charities before donating.

Also, donations should not be given in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.

For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, the FTC recommends going to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) websites.

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