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It's dizzying, the amount of information out there about the Coronavirus. You’re dealing with story after story online and through social media, television, radio, and in newspapers and magazines — each with its own take — at all hours of the day and night, from all around the world.

So how can we sort out what’s real and what’s not?

You already know to go to for medical information and to see what the federal government is doing. Your local government and health department have the best information about what people in your area can (and can't) do. And the Federal Trade Commission has great information on the wide variety of Coronavirus scams. Good. But it’s still a lot. 

So first, take a breath. The amount of information is overwhelming — and the topic is tough to handle and sometimes panic-provoking. So, step away from the screen for a minute. Look out a window. Talk to a loved one. Listen to some music. Breathe. Nobody makes good decisions when they’re overwhelmed.

Then, apply some critical thinking tools to all those messages out there. Because, right now, no one can afford to take all the information at face value. Before you act on a message you've seen, before you share it, or before you even worry about it, ask — and answer — all three of these critical questions:

  • Who is the message from? Do I know them? Do I trust them? Am I positive they are who they say they are? Double-check: government impersonators are active right now.
  • What do they want me to do? Just know something — or are they trying to get me to act in some way? Do they want me to buy something, download something, or give up personal info?
  • What evidence supports the message? Use some independent sources to fact-check it — or debunk it. Maybe talk to someone you trust. But always verify, using a few additional sources. Once you’ve done that, does the message still seem accurate? We can't help slow the volume of information coming your way. But approaching information by asking and answering these questions can help you sort out what's helpful…and what’s a scam. So, for example, if the message is about a treatment or cure, you know where to go:

Bottom line: when you come across new — sometimes alarming — information, stop. Talk to someone else. Focus on whether the facts back up the information you’re hearing. Good, solid evidence will point you in the right direction. Then decide what you think and what you want to do with the message – pass it on, act on it, ignore it, or roll your eyes at it. And if you suspect a scam, tell the Federal Trade Commission so we can keep trying to shut the creeps down.

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

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.

March 26, 2020
Thank you for these educational and insightful posts. I use them weekly to send to our senior community to keep them updated.
March 26, 2020
Great article. Plan to share with friends and family.
Dluffing caton…
March 26, 2020
Follow CDC
April 03, 2020
Another indication of fraud I look for is the email address of the sender. So many times I have received emails that appear to be from legitimate organizations and see that the senders addresses are "give me your money @ gmail. com or something similar. A legit organization is not going to be using a g mail account.