Skip to main content

Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus. They’re setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information.

The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips, and fake information about cases in your neighborhood. They also may be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, or contain malicious email attachments.

Here are some tips to help you keep the scammers at bay:

  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. It could download a virus onto your computer or device. Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is up to date.
  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying that have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the Coronavirus, ask yourself: if there’s been a medical breakthrough, would you be hearing about it for the first time through an ad or sales pitch?
  • Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
  • Be alert to “investment opportunities.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.

Want more information on the latest scams we’re seeing? Sign up for our consumer alerts. If you come across any suspicious claims, report them to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

woman at computer filing a complaint with the FTC

14 Comments


It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Pokey
February 10, 2020
how low can the scammers go?
rysio
February 11, 2020
Thank you for these absolutely timely informative advice will share with Chambers PD HOA and senior centers Thank you again for your services
Fed up!
February 10, 2020
So fed up with these scammers. Unbelievable.
Jimbofishy
February 11, 2020
Thanks to you guys for helping to keep everyone informed. So many people are lesser informed and thus they are targets for anything that comes their way. These scammers have lots of energy and initiative. Sadly, they do not have an ounce of conscience or any morals at all.
Adetermined woman
February 18, 2020
Thank you for your reliable information. Our agency does a weekly presentation on elders and scams. Your organization is one of the sources I use for my consumers.
FTC Staff
February 18, 2020

In reply to by Adetermined woman

You're welcome! Thank you for sharing the information.

Have you seen our Pass It On campaign created for older adults? It has information on a dozen scams, with printable resources and PowerPoint presentation for each topic. You can print the resources or order free copies from our Bulkorder site (shipping is free too).

SHANI NASARA SALWA
March 02, 2020
These people have no shame at all.
Hassan20
March 06, 2020
We can live but we can't pass everything in life
Carl Bowles
March 10, 2020
Avoid getting ripped off. Do the homework, knowledge is power.
Songbird
March 12, 2020
Most of us are so aware of spam, that we trust Nobody....Thank you for the info....we appreciate it!!
ay
March 17, 2020
Do you happen to have a flyer that we may be able to mail to people? In English and Spanish?
FTC Staff
March 18, 2020

In reply to by ay

No, we don't have a flyer, but we have English and Spanish content at www.ftc.gov/coronavirus and www.ftc.gov/coronavirus/es. All FTC material is free to use and in the public domain. You can link or copy it freely. The resource page has: 

  • social media buttons about coronavirus to place on social media accounts
  • tips & government agency links you can add to a tip sheet 
  • a list of FTC blog posts, which that have more information you can link to or copy
Ike Akpom
March 15, 2021
Thank you for the information.