If your social-media timelines are anything like ours, you already know it's too late to stock up on masks to protect yourself from the coronavirus, or COVID-19, headed our way. (But that's OK, because with Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the national response, we're gonna be juuuust fine.)
But the money-making doesn't end with hoarding masks and doling them out to your desperate neighbors for an entirely reasonable price markup of 1,000 percent. Graybeards like us know there's nothing like a health scare -- HIV, measles, and now coronavirus -- to bring out the scammers. Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning Michiganians not to fall for a variety of early-arriving money-extracting flimflams linked to the coronavirus. A press release from Nessel's office warns:
These scams include websites selling fake products, and fabricated emails, texts and social media posts used to steal money and personal information.
The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips along with phony information about cases in residents’ neighborhoods. They may also ask for donations to victims, provide advice on unproven treatments or contain damaging attachments.
The Federal Trade Commission adds:
- Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know;
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus;
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations; and
- Be alert to “investment opportunities.”
Nessel did not identify any current scams in operation now, but assume they're coming. They always do.