When it comes to the coronavirus, first came the news reports, then came the conspiracy theories, and now come the scams to steal your money and your identity.
The FTC says scammers and hackers are "following the headlines."
The agency warns about a sudden surge in phishing emails that appear to be from the CDC, with headings such as:
- "Local coronavirus health alert"
- "COVID-19 cases near you"
- "Where to find a coronavirus vaccine in your area."
Click the links in these and they may give you a virus: not coronavirus, fortunately, but more likely a computer virus.
Or worse, they will convince you to re-log in to Outlook, where you will land on a copycat Microsoft page, where they will steal your personal information.
Some of these messages are so legitimate-looking, the email appears to come from CDC.gov. A closer look, however, reveals it is really CDC.gov.org, which is not legitimate, and takes you to a non-government site.
But from the "doesn't that stink" file, the conspiracy theories are going viral as well.
Wired magazine calls the coronavirus outbreak "a petri dish for conspiracy theories" on Twitter and Facebook.
One theory claims the US government knew it was coming, because Lysol bottles already say Lysol "kills human coronavirus." But coronaviruses have been around for years; COVID-19 is a new version never seen before.
Doesn't that stink?
Bottom line: As with any email, never respond with personal information, so you stay safe and you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").
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