FBI sees rise in coronavirus-related fraud schemes

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Coronavirus Scams graphic

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – The FBI is warning people about a growing number of coronavirus-related scams.

The agency says scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal money, personal information, or both.

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The FBI says do your research before clicking on links claiming to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; buying virus-related products online; or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits.

The bureau says watch out for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other organizations claiming to offer information on the virus.

The FBI says do not click links or open attachments you do not recognize.  Fraudsters can use links in emails to deliver malware to your computer to steal personal information or to lock your computer and demand payment.

Be wary of websites and apps claiming to track COVID-19 cases worldwide. The FBI says criminals are using malicious websites to infect and lock devices until payment is received.

Look out for phishing emails asking you to verify your personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government, according to the FBI.

While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news cycle, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking your private information in order to send you money.

Phishing emails may also claim to be related to:

  • Charitable contributions
  • General financial relief
  • Airline carrier refunds
  • Fake cures and vaccines
  • Fake testing kits

The FBI says be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19.

Be alert to counterfeit products such as sanitizing products and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns, and gloves.

More information on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh.

You can also find information on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website, www.fda.gov, and the Environmental Protection Agency website, www.epa.gov.

Report counterfeit products at www.ic3.gov and to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at iprcenter.gov.

 

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.