Officials warn of scammers kicking it into high gear to profit off coronavirus fears

Joplin Area Coronavirus

Courtesy of WDAF

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — It looks like a legit letter from the World Health Organization notifying you on updates regarding coronavirus.

But the feds say it’s a scam.

The Federal Trade Commission posted a copy of the emailed letter on its website. The FTC warns that if you click on the link the letter contains, ransom ware would be installed on your computer — locking you out and giving scammers access.

The fake WHO letter is just one of many scams now inundating Americans. That’s the word the FTC, which has listed multiple scams on its website.

Scammers have even spoofed the coronavirus updates page from John Hopkins University.

What can you do to fight back? Protect your computer by installing the latest updates. Use security software and multifactor authentication.

Coronavirus scammers are also using robocalls to peddle supposed cures as well as work-at-home schemes.

It’s easy to avoid phone scams by only answering the phone when you know who is calling. If you don’t recognize the number, let it go to voicemail. Scammers rarely leave a message.

Fake charities are also popping up at an alarming rate.

If anyone asks you to support their charity, ask for them to send you a request via snail mail. Then double check the charity’s name. Many fake ones have names that sound similar to legitimate charities.

Finally, always donate using your credit card, never use a gift card. Accepting a credit card number should not be a problem for a real charity.

The FTC has also received complaints about bogus sellers of hard-to-get products like cleaning supplies. People never get the product they ordered and can’t find the seller when they ask for a refund.

Again, to protect yourself, only pay by credit card when you order online. You have 60 days to dispute a purchase with your credit card company.

If you’ve been scammed, report it to the FTC and to your state’s attorney general.

By the way, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office has now received more than 100 complaints regarding price gouging — that’s double what it was just a few days ago.

There are so many complaints coming in that the Missouri Attorney General has posted a special form on its website for reporting the problem.

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