Better Business Bureau Warns Against Coronavirus Scams
Better Business Bureau (BBB; bbb.org/nebraska) cautions that everyone needs to be skeptical of emails and websites promoting coronavirus prevention products and tips. Right now, issues associated with coronavirus and a potential pandemic are of global interest, and that means scammers have a very large pond to go phishing in. Media reports on the outbreak of coronavirus in the Wuhan region of China already have prompted a social media scam targeting Chinese-Australian citizens in Wuhan with a phony online evacuation form, according to a report by Australia’s ABC news outlet.
During the 2009 swine flu epidemic, McAfee Avert Labs, an online security company, reported that messages promoting virus treatment and prevention, or otherwise sensationalizing the outbreak, accounted for 2% of all spam sent in the days following the first media reports of the outbreak. Various websites promoted “survival guides,” masks, prevention tips, and treatments, most of them of little value in fighting flu. BBB offers the following advice to avoid coronavirus-related scams:
- Avoid opening emails from unknown sources. Do not click on links in the body of the email or open any attachments. Instead, delete the email.
- Disregard online offers for vaccinations against coronavirus because a vaccine does not exist.
- Make sure the antivirus and anti-malware programs on your computer are up to date and all operating system security patches have been installed.
Free information on the virus, the outbreak and preventive measures is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
Better Business Bureau has been serving the local communities since 1936. The overall mission of BBB is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. Learn more online at bbb.org/nebraska or call (800) 649-6814.