Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding Coronavirus.
Follow these tips to protect yourself and your family.
local_atm Federal Emergency Management Agency Funeral Benefits
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will pay up to $9,000 for funeral expenses paid since January 20, 2020 for loved ones who died of COVID-19. Survivors can apply for benefits by contacting FEMA at (844) 684-6333. The number is toll-free and multi-lingual services are available. To find more information and eligibility requirements go to https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance/faq. Beware of companies contacting you offering to help with the registration process. Scams have already been reported to FEMA. Only go to trusted sources.
local_hospital Testing & Vaccination
Be wary of ads for test kits. Many test kits being advertised have not been approved by the FDA, and aren't necessarily accurate. Almost all authorized home tests don't provide rapid results and require you to send a test sample to a lab for analysis. For information about testing locations in Utah go to: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-covid-19-testing-locations/
Per the CDC, "Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the shot to someone. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. No one can be denied a vaccine if they are unable to pay the vaccine administration fee."
Contact your local health department to schedule vaccinations.
money Government Relief Checks
Expect scammers to take advantage of this. Here’s what you need to know: The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. The government will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number.
ANYONE WHO DOES IS A SCAMMER!
For information about government relief checks and the IRS please visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center.
phone_android Social Media Scams
Beware of scams targeting social media users or hacked social media accounts. No matter how official something looks or sounds, a red flag should go up anytime someone asks for your personal financial information.
For additional information, please read the press release issued by the Department of Commerce.
credit_card Debt Relief
Be very careful with offers to help with debt relief. Many people may have trouble paying their bills during this challenging time. Some may try to prey on this. Watch out for outright scams swooping in to offer relief, or for offers of assistance that, in the long run, will lock you into a worse position. Check to ensure that any debt management or credit services organizations you consider working with are registered with the Division of Consumer Protection. You can check that here: https://dcp.utah.gov/registered.html
business Small Business Relief Programs
There are absolutely no fees necessary for businesses to file applications for federal or state aid. Do not work with organizations that tell you otherwise. See the following for more information:
- Salt Lake County — Predatory Alert: COVID-19 Loans
- Federal Trade Commission — Small Businesses: Where to go for financial relief information
home Work-At-Home Jobs
Ads offer a variety of work-at-home jobs — Internet businesses, shipping or mailing work, selling goods, and more. But many of these "jobs" are scams, aimed at getting your money, and won’t deliver on the claims they make. To avoid work-at-home scams, spend time doing research. Also, don't pay to get a job, avoid fake job ads by researching the company, and read the small print.
- Federal Trade Commission: Work-at-Home Businesses and Scams
- For information about jobs in Utah, visit the Utah Department of Workforce Services at: https://jobs.utah.gov/jobseeker/
local_pharmacy Treatments & Cures
Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the Coronavirus, STOP. If there is a medical breakthrough, you’re not going to hear about it for the first time from an ad or sales pitch. At this time, there are no FDA-authorized home test kits for the Coronavirus.
email Email and Text Scams
Beware of email scams that may include some of your personal identifying information and threatening to release private information about you in exchange for payment via money wiring, bitcoin, or gift cards, or other email scams. See these example emails.
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 antivirus software on your computer is up to date.
store Online Sellers
Know who you’re buying from. Online sellers may claim to have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and health and medical supplies when, in fact, they don’t.
Also, scammers may imitate legitimate businesses in an attempt to steal financial or other information from you. For example, you may receive a message with the legitimate company's name spelled incorrectly and poor grammar. If you hover over links, you will see that they do not go to the legitimate business's site, but to a scam site. See examples appearing to come from Netflix. If you are concerned or have questions, find the legitimate business's contact information (from a bill or your account online), and contact the business using that information.
Hang up on illegal robocallers. Don’t press any numbers. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.
Listen to these Scammy Calls about the Coronavirus, courtesy of Nomorobo and the FTC:
- Fake tests for Medicare recipients volume_up
- Free test kit scam volume_up
- Sanitation supplies volume_up
- Health insurance pitches volume_up
- Mortgage scam volume_up
- Social Security Administration scam volume_up
- Small business listing scam volume_up
money_off Fake Charities
Do your homework when it comes to donations. Research the charity. Check to see if the organization is registered with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection to solicit donations at https://dcp.utah.gov/registered.html. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
share Misinformation & Rumors
Scammers, and sometimes well-meaning people, share information that hasn’t been verified. Before you pass on any messages, do some fact checking by contacting trusted sources.
find_in_page For additional information, visit these government websites:
- coronavirus.utah.gov — Stay Home, Stay Safe. Testing site locations. Case Counts.
- cdc.gov — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- coronavirus.gov — How to prepare and protect yourself. What to do if you think you are sick.
- usa.gov/coronavirus — Federal government agencies and what they are doing in response to COVID-19.
- ftc.gov/coronavirus — Learn about scams and COVID related data.
report_problem Report suspicious claims or questionable practices to the Division
list_alt Press Releases issued by the Department relating to Coronavirus
- March 30, 2020 – Division of Securities Urges Caution as Scammers Target Investors with COVID-19 Schemes
- March 23, 2020 – Division of Consumer Protection Aggressively Pursuing Price Gouging Complaints
- March 16, 2020 – Consumers Encouraged to Report Price Gouging
- March 5, 2020 – Beware of Investment Scams Using Coronavirus Fear and Uncertainty