Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon is advising residents of warnings by the FBI and New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) that fraud schemes targeting your money and personal identifying information are on the rise in the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Do your research and don’t let scammers exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money or personal identifiers by urging you to click on links, donate online to charities, or give up personal data in order to receive money or other benefits.
The NJOHSP warns that the pandemic has led to acts designed to cause panic and take advantage of unsuspecting residents, including exploitation by extremists, text messages that falsely warn of a mandatory quarantine, and misinformation on social media pages.
The FBI specifically advises residents to be on the lookout for the following:
FAKE CDC Emails: Be wary of emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other organizations purporting to offer information on Coronavirus.
DO NOT click links or open attachments from senders you do not recognize. Scammers can use links in emails to deliver malware to your computer to and demand payment. BE LEERY of websites and apps that claims to track COVID-19 cases worldwide. Criminals are using malicious websites to infect and lock devices until payment is made.
PHISHING EMAILS: Be alert to phishing emails that ask you to verify your personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. Government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails that seek private information in order to send you money.
PHISHING EMAILS also may claim to be related to charitable contributions, general financial relief, airline carrier refunds, fake cures and vaccines and fake Coronavirus testing kits.
- Don’t open attachments or click links within emails from unfamiliar senders.
- Don’t provide your username, password, date of birth, Social Security number, financial data, or other personal identifiers in response to an email or robocall.
- Always verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into your browser.
- Check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link. (For example, an address that should end in “.gov” ends, instead, in “.com.”)
COUNTERFEIT TREATMENTS OR EQUIPMENT: Be cautious around anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19. Be alert to counterfeit products such as sanitizing items and Personal Protective Equipment, including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns and gloves.
REPORT COUNTERFEIT PRODUCTS at www.ic3.gov and to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at jprcenter.gov.
MORE INFORMATION on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh. Other information to assist in avoiding Coronavirus-related scams may be found on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website at www.fda.gov., and on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website at www.epa.gov.
REPORTING SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY: If you suspect you are the victim of an Internet scam or cybercrime, or wish to report suspicious activity, visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.