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9 Coronavirus Scams Exposed

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Thursday, March 12, 2020

As we know of human nature, scammers and con artists will use any and all means available to dupe and rob others. Worldwide anxiety over the coronavirus is a tempting opportunity and fertile field to prey on the unsuspecting and uninformed. Below are the nine primary coronavirus scams exposed. 

Fake coronavirus emails dupe victims into opening harmful attachments:

“Criminal hackers, scammers and even governments have been sending fake coronavirus-themed emails designed to trick people into opening attachments that download malicious software, allowing access to their data, experts told NBC News. Some messages have impersonated the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while others have masqueraded as communications from health authorities in other countries, including Ukraine, Vietnam and Italy.”

What to do ………

“Phishers know all too well that during uncertain times—whether it's international conflict or coronavirus—people become desperate for information and reassurance. Protecting yourself from falling into these traps can be difficult, but there are some helpful steps you can take. As you've probably heard countless times, take a moment to think before downloading attachments or clicking links in any email or message, especially from someone you don’t personally know. If you have to interact, try to confirm that the email address is valid and spelled correctly, or use another method of communication to confirm that everything is above board. Most importantly, trust your gut. If something elicits strong emotions or a sense of urgency—or just feels off—pause to reconsider. Ultimately, though, phishing scams are designed to manipulate and deceive. There’s no shame in getting tripped up.”

Face mask scams are everywhere:

“You want to buy a face mask to help protect yourself – or family – from coronavirus. Masks are sold out in your local stores and many major online sellers. So instead, you turn to purchasing masks from an online shop you don’t know.

“Unfortunately, phony online stores abound – especially when an item is in high demand. According to Scam Tracker reports, these phony sellers take victims’ money and never deliver anything all. One person reported ordering nearly $200 in masks and received no product or response from the seller: ‘I checked back a few times over the past week to see if there was updated information on a shipping date, but never got more information than that ‘the order was being processed.’’ These sites use tricks like limited time deals to entice you into ordering more. In the worst cases, these sites are actually a way to steal your personal and credit card information, opening you up to identity theft.”

Scammers are using desperate appeals for charity related to the virus:

“Another emerging fraud scheme exploiting the Coronavirus is using social engineering tactics through legitimate social media websites seeking donations for charitable causes related to the virus. Criminals are exploiting the charitable spirit of individuals, seeking donations to fraudulent causes surrounding the Coronavirus. Increased caution should be exercised when donating to charitable organizations.”

People prone to believe in conspiracy theories are effectively being exploited:

“Threat actors have launched a campaign using an email lure that stokes conspiracy theory fears that there is cure for Coronavirus that isn’t being shared. In Figure 1 you can see that the email claims there is a cure being hidden by government entities because the virus is being used as a bioweapon. It then urges the recipient to receive further information on the ‘cure’ by clicking on the link provided in the email.”

There are no vaccinations, pills, lotions:

“Ignore online offers for vaccinations. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — online or in stores.”

Seven companies exposed by the FTC and the FDA:

“The FTC and FDA have jointly issued warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent the Coronavirus. The companies’ products include teas, essential oils, and colloidal silver. The FTC says the companies have no evidence to back up their claims — as required by law. The FDA says there are no approved vaccines, drugs or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent the virus.”

The seven companies are:

Vital Silver
Aromatherapy Ltd.
GuruNanda, LLC
Vivify Holistic Clinic
Herbal Amy LLC
The Jim Bakker Show

Stock market scams have emerged:

“Quack cures and fake products aren't the only kind of coronavirus scam. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission warned investors last month about fraudsters touting stocks of companies with products that supposedly can prevent, detect or cure coronavirus. Buy those stocks now, they say, and they will soar in price.

“But the con artists have already bought the stocks, which typically sell for a dollar or less. As the hype grows and the stock price increases, the con men dump the stock, saddling other investors with big losses. It's a classic penny stock called ‘pump and dump.’ Making matters worse: You may not be able to sell your shares if trading is suspended, the SEC warns.

“‘When investing in any company, including companies that claim to focus on coronavirus-related products and services, carefully research the investment and keep in mind that investment scam artists often exploit the latest crisis to line their own pockets,’ the SEC says.”

List of confirmed scam web domains:


Additional Info

Coronavirus Resource Center: Inoculation Against Misinformation https://centerforinquiry.org/coronavirus/

Alex Jones’ Infowars is attempting to profit from the coronavirus outbreak  https://www.mediamatters.org/coronavirus-covid-19/alex-jones-infowars-attempting-profit-coronavirus-outbreak

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

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30 Prying and Probing Questions To Bolster Critical Thinking http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2016/10/30-prying-and-probing-questions-to.html

Exposed: 9 Basic Ways Conspiracy Theorists Dupe The Public  http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2018/02/exposed-9-basic-ways-conspiracy.html

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Photo: https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-issues/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.


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