Carnegie Mellon University

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Scams

Last updated on 6/30/2020

Cyber criminals prey on fear and uncertainty. Major news events like the coronavirus provide ample opportunity for email and other online scams. Bookmark this page. This page will be updated as new scams emerge.

Visit the official CMU-Alert page for information on Carnegie Mellon's response.

Types of Scams


Phishing

Emails impersonating Carnegie Mellon University, the World Health Organization, the CDC, and other reputable sources may hit your inbox. For accurate information, go straight to the source. To view the latest phishing emails circulating Carnegie Mellon, visit The Phish Bowl.


Charity Scams

You may see charities that you don’t recognize asking for donations in the wake of COVID-19. Verify all charities on the IRS tax exemption site. Visit the Fraud Support Cybercrime Charity Imposter Scams for warning signs and action steps to take after donating to a fraudulent charity.


Gift Card Scams

Scammers are requesting gift cards from an email source which appears to come from a person of familiarity such as a supervisor or co-worker. The scammer asks if you are available to help them purchase gift cards. Once purchased, the scammer requests that the card number be shared. Never provide gift card payments to anyone over email or phone. Contact the person through a trusted channel such as an email from the CMU Directory to verify any requests.


Robocalls

Calls from cybercriminals pretending to be government organizations, family members in distress, banks/credit card companies etc. are on the rise due to the coronavirus outbreak. Robocalls are less easy to detect than they used to be, the caller ID can be adjusted to make it look like the call is coming from your area code to establish a false sense of trust. If someone calls out of the blue and asks you to hand over personal information, wire money, or make a payment with a gift card, it’s a scam.


Spoofed Webpages

Criminals are registering website domain names that appear to look similar to legitimate webpages such as the IRS stimulus tracking site, fake unemployment filing webpages, and phony health organization sites. These phony sites attempt to solicit personal information. Be aware of lookalike domains that claim to be related to the IRS or government agencies. Watch for spelling errors in emails or website URLs.  

  • In Pennsylvania, unemployment claims can only be filed with the Department of Labor & Industry at: https://www.uc.pa.gov/


Misinformation

Beware of emails and social media postings that claim to be from medical experts attempting to spread false information about the virus.  Additionally, be wary of offers for investment opportunities, with scammers claiming that stocks of certain companies wil rise as a result of increase sales of products that might be helpful in the time of a crisis.

LATEST NEWS UPDATES

June 30, 2020

FBI warns of fraudulent COVID-19 antibody tests: The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning of fraudulent COVID-19 antibody tests. While real tests indicate whether or not an individual was previously infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, the FBI warns the false tests are not only a method for scammers to give out fraudulent results but also to steal personal information from people who take the fake tests.
Full Story from ABC News

Avoid COVID-19 contact tracing scams: As the novel coronavirus continues to make its way back and forth across the country, scams related to COVID-19 continue to multiply. Fake contact tracing has added to the growing list of ways to take advantage of people.
Full Story from The High Plains Journal

June 15, 2020

New pandemic concern: digital real estate scams: Like many Silicon Valley home searches, this hunt for a nice, three-bedroom, two-bath home in San Jose with an ample yard was filled with angst, losing bids and a swollen budget. And then came the con — older than the internet but all the more powerful in a real estate industry locked down by a pandemic and increasingly dependent on cyber-transactions. The digital scam nearly upended the deal just hours before closing.
Full Story from The Mercury News

June 14, 2020

Ready for a vacation as N.J. reopens? Here's how to avoid summer rental scams: As New Jersey reopens, many consumers are hoping they can still rent a home at the Shore. Pent up demand from the coronavirus shutdown means you might have trouble making the reservations you want. That, in turn might lead you to jump on a deal, even if it sounds too good to be true.
Full Story from The Jersey Journal

June 10, 2020

New coronavirus scam: How to spot bogus contact tracing texts, emails and calls: Don't panic if you get a phone call, text message or email from someone who says they're a publich health official warning that you may have been exposed to the coronavirus. It may be a scam.
Full Story from The Morning Call

June 8, 2020

Covid-10 Pandemic Takes Toll on Cybersecurity: The COVID-19 pandemic has created an ideal environment for cybercriminals to launch phishing campaigns intended to enable criminal activities ranging from simple theft of credentials to outright fraud. The depth of the illicit activity, however, is now reaching unprecedented levels.
Full Story from Security Boulevard

JUNE 4, 2020

FBI Warns Companies to Be Vigilant as COVID-19-Themed BEC Scams Continue to Grow: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause chaos across the globe, cyber attacks seeking to exploit the crisis on the rise as well. In particular, the frequency of COVID-19 business e-mail compromise (“BEC”) schemes—a particularly low-tech, but highly damaging type of cyber scam—has risen significantly since the onset of the global health emergency, so much so it prompted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) to issue two alerts warning businesses of the growing threat. 
Full Story from JD Supra

Stimulus Check Calls, Bogus COVID-19 Tests: Scammers Get Tech-Savvy: Carolyn Peterson, who has been dutifully paying her power bill on time for 43 years, knew something was wrong when the caller said she was three months' past due. She needed to pay $275 immediately or her electricity would be cut off. The workers were already in her neighborhood and ready to cut her power, they told her.
Full Story from Spectrum News13

MAY 28, 2020

Social security fraud boosted by COVID-19 fears: Social Security fraud was already a problem when the global COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States early this spring. But now fraudsters have added brand-new ploys involving the public health crisis to exploit unsuspecting victims.
Full Story from Journal of Accountancy

MAY 27, 2020

COVID-19 scams targeting college students: Hey college students: Even though you’re likely far from campus, scammers are still trying to find you, the Federal Trade Commission warns. Maybe you or your friends have gotten an email claiming to be from the “Financial Department” of your university. The email tells you to click on a link to get a message about your COVID-19 economic stimulus check — and it needs to be opened through a portal link requiring your university login.
Full Story from Federal Trade Commission

MAY 26, 2020

New [F]Unicorn ransomware hits Italy via fake COVID-19 infection map: A new ransomware threat called [F]Unicorn has been encrypting computers in Italy by tricking victims into downloading a fake contact tracing app that promises to bring real-time updates for COVID-19 infections. 
Full Story from BleepingComputer

MAY 22, 2020

Pa. official warn of scams targeting unemployment benefit recipients during coronavirus pandemic: Scammers are getting away with using Social Security numbers and other identifying information belonging to identity theft victims to commit unemployment compensation fraud, officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry warn.
Full Story from PennLive

MAY 21, 2020

Massive COVID-19-Themed Phishing Campaign Allows Hackers To Gain Remote Access, Warns Microsoft: Microsoft has released a warning of an ongoing COVID-19 themed phishing campaign that allows attackers to install the NetSupport Manager remote access tool to gain remote access of the device. Microsoft security team has provided detailed information about this phishing campaign in a series of tweets.
Full Story from Mashable

Fraudsters are posing as nurses on dating sites to con people at of money in COVID-19 scam: Criminals are posing as nurses on dating sites in order to take advantage of unsuspecting victims during the coronavirus crisis, alongside other online scams. The National Crime Agency (NCA) says fraudsters are also offering fake or non-existent items for sale –including game consoles, personal protective equipment (PPE), medicines and even puppies – as they prey on people’s fears during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Full Story from Yahoo News UK

MAY 20, 2020

Job Seekers Beware: Online employment scams risky, BBB says: The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic’s destructive impact on the U.S. economy has landed millions of workers in the unemployment line. Compounding the situation, social distancing has forced work online in many industries. Better Business Bureau warns job seekers to use caution when job-hunting online, as online employment scams are rampant.
Full Story from WSILTV

MAY 19, 2020

COVID-19 contact tracing text message scams: You’ve probably been hearing a lot about contact tracing. It’s the process of identifying people who have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, instructing them to quarantine and monitoring their symptoms daily. 
Full Story from Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information

Scam alert: Text message offering free groceries from Target amid coronavirus pandemic is fake: A text message claiming target is giving away free groceries due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is reportedly making the rounds— but warning: It's a scam. 
Full Story from Fox6Now.com

MAY 14, 2020

Fake COVID-19 Cryptocurrency Emerges Promising to Gain Value with Each Death: A new report reveals exponential growth in the number of phishing and website scams leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic, including websites peddling fake COVID-19 cryptocurrencies and crypto wallets that aim to siphon data for phishing. One site even claims the value of its crypto coin increases with each death from the virus.
Full Story from Security Boulevard

MAY 13, 2020

Virtual Currency Scams Exploiting COVID-19 Wide Scale Asserts FinCEN Chief Blanco: Many virtual currency payment scams are exploiting COVID-19, from extortion, ransomware, and the sale of fraudulent medical products, to initial coin offering investment scams, which will likely continue to grow during the pandemic, asserted Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Director Ken Blanco today.
Full Story from Forbes

MAY 12, 2020

Hackers are impersonating Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet for phishing scams: Hackers have registered domains posing as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet-related URLs, according to a new report from Check Point Research. As significantly more people are using these videoconferencing services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the domains could be used to pose as official links, potentially tricking people into downloading malware or accidentally giving a bad actor access to personal information.
Full Story from The Verge

MAY 11, 2020

Job Hunting Scams Amid COVID-19 Pandemic: With over 22 million Americans filing for unemployment as of April 16, 2020, the job market has never been busier. Unfortunately, that means job scams are on the rise as well. Since the COVID-19 global pandemic hit in December, the Better Business Buereau has reported more than 13,000 job listing scams in North America alone.
Full Story From Forbes

Spring Brings Surge in Coronavirus-Related Scams, BBB Reports: With consumers seeking personal protective equipment and companionship amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Better Business Bureau is reporting a surge in scams for fake masks, gloves and even puppies.
Full Story From WTTW News

MAY 7, 2020

Businesses: Beware of COVID-19 email compromise scams: Palo Alto Networks has found 10 separate coronavirus-themed business email compromise campaigns, and all can be tied back to a single Nigerian group called SilverTerrier.
Full Story from TechRepublic

Hackers Dumpster Dive for Taxpayer Data in COVID-19 Relief Money Scams: Threat actors are using a combination of scams to obtain as well as buy and sell credentials for U.S. taxpayers to steal appropriations from the COVID-19 relief package as well as 2020 tax refunds, new research has found.
Full Story from Threat Post

Dayton police warn people of new scam amid pandemic: Dayton’s Financial Crimes Detectives have noticed that a new coronavirus related scam has surfaced and they are cautioning citizens against giving out personal information. The scam is connected to easyfoodstamps.com and two other apps known as FreshEBT and GiveDirectly.
Full Story from WHIOTV

MAY 5, 2020

FBI warns of increased number of cryptocurrency-related scams during coronavirus: The FBI announced that they are expecting a rise in scams involving cryptocurrency-related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Full Story from ABC News 8 in Tulsa, OK

Attackers Adapt Techniques to Pandemic Reality: Attackers continue to use the theme of the coronavirus pandemic to create more convincing phishing lures and impersonate legitimate domains in an attempt to get past the strained cybersecurity of work-from-home employees, according to two reports released this week. 
Full Story from DarkReading

Housing scam becomes more believable during COVID-19 pandemic: 13 WREX obtained emails between an interested renter and a scammer pretending to own one of VanderHeyden’s properties. The scammer stated COVID-19 would prevent the buyer from being able to see the property.
Full Story from 13 WREX

Coronavirus and your student loan debt: If you have student loan debt, you’ve probably heard that the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act gives some flexibility to federal student loan borrowers. Understanding these options can help you make more informed decisions about paying your bills and prioritizing your debts.
Full Blog from the Federal Trade Commission

MAY 2, 2020

 Latest Phishing Campaign Spoofs Microsoft Teams Messages:  A recently uncovered phishing campaign is spoofing notifications from Microsoft's Teams collaboration platform to harvest Office 365 credentials from employees working from home offices becauses of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Full Story from BankInfoSecurity

APRIL 29, 2020

7 Fraud Predictions in the Wake of the Coronavirus: An unprecedented global virus outbreak is just what the cyberfraudster ordered. Confusion, chaos, and abrupt changes in digital user behavior can help the sharp-minded cybercriminal exploit the current crisis to prey on unsuspecting victims.
Full Story from DarkReading

Scam emails demand Bitcoin, threaten blackmail: reports of Bitcoin blackmail scams have taken a big jump in the last few weeks. The emails say they hacked into your computer and recorded you visiting adult websites. They threaten to distribute the video to your friends and family within hours, unless you pay into their Bitcoin account.
Full Blog from the Federal Trade Commission

Cyberscammers: Pay Up or We’ll Infect Your Family With Coronavirus: The NYPD is on alert over a sick COVID-19 blackmail scheme where unsuspecting people are targeted online by scammers who threaten to infect their families with the coronavirus if they refuse to pay the fraudsters money or cryptocurrency.

Warning! Fake Zoom "HR meeting" emails phish for your password: Scammers have turned to employment worries as their latest lure for Zoom phishing scams. 
Full Story from Naked Security by Sophos

‘I was shocked, infuriated’: Women receive false unemployment claims in their name: Shocked and confused. That’s how Breanne Wilson, a local X-ray technician, said she felt when she received notice about an unemployment claim in her name that she never filed.
Full Story from NBC10

Warning! These shipping emails from FedEx and UPS are fakes: As inconvenient as shipping delays are, that’s nothing compared to the pain scammers are inflicting on people. By masquerading as FedEx, UPS and other shipping companies, these crooks are easily tricking their victims into handing over personal data.
Full Story from Kim Komando

Bogus Message Claims Victims Need To Fill Out Census To Get Stimulus Check: In the latest digital scam, crooks are looking to use the U.S. Census to get their hands on COVID-19 stimulus money intended for unsuspecting victims.
Full Story from CBS Chicago

 APRIL 27, 2020

COVID-19 cyber scams: What small businesses need to know: According to a report by Microsoft, every country in the world has seen at least one COVID-19-themed cyberattack. Because the uncertainty and fear around the pandemic is creating new opportunities for cybercriminals, it’s important to be aware of the most common attacks your small business may experience.
Full Story from the Idaho State Business Journal

Scammers take new approach to classic utility scam amid COVID-19: You hopefully already know by this point that scammers have been taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic for one of their classic calls: threatening to turn your utilities off. Utility scams typically demand immediate payment and threaten service disconnection if you fail to cooperate or question the caller’s legitimacy.
Full Story from WHSV

Yolo County District Attorney Warns Of COVID-19 ‘Sextortion’ Scam: Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig is warning people who are staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic about a “sextortion” scam seen online recently. With many more people on the internet right now it’s more likely to happen you or someone you know.
Full Story from NewsRadio KFBK

Rise in unemployment ID theft as scammers try to take advantage of COVID-19: A global pandemic means everyone on the planet knows about COVID-19. The Identity Theft Resource Center says for scammers- this is like the Super Bowl, the World Series, the World Cup and the NBA Finals all rolled into one. And now, federal unemployment benefits are top targets.
Full Story from KOMO News

APRIL 25, 2020

Coronavirus scams: Don't click these fast food and free delivery offers: In light of the influx in deliveries and takeout orders, hackers and cybercriminals are now using fake coupons and delivery deals to trick people into sharing their personal data. If you get a special offer for your favorite fast-food joint, here’s why you might want to think twice before opening it.
Full Story from Kim Komando

FTC sends COVID-related warnings to MLM companies: A business opportunity that promises you can work from home, earn lots of money, and enjoy a lavish lifestyle? Sounds tempting, particularly now, when so many people are out of work because of the Coronavirus pandemic. But letters the FTC sent today to ten multi-level marketing (MLM) companies are a reminder to research an MLM business before investing your money and your time.
Full Blog from the Federal Trade Commission

Better Business Bureau getting reports of ‘puppy scam with a COVID twist’: Now may seem like an opportune time to get a new pet but the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is issuing a warning about a “puppy scam with a COVID twist.”
Full Story from WPRI 12

APRIL 22, 2020

As more musicians turn to livestreaming as a way to connect with fans and raise money, scammers are seizing the opportunity to steal information: Livestream scams aren’t entirely new; YouTube has been dealing with them for years. But as more and more musicians turn to livestreaming as a way to connect with fans and raise money while anticipated touring revenue has dried up, scammers are seizing the opportunity to solicit personal information from unsuspecting victims.
Full Story from Alive

FCC warns of text scam offering $30k in coronavirus relief: ‘This program doesn’t exist’: Scammers are using “hoax text message campaigns and scam robocalls” to prey on consumers during the coronavirus epidemic, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Among these scams is a text claiming to be from the “FCC Financial Care Center” offering people $30,000 in Covid-19 relief, but no such program exists.
Full Story from Newsweek

Veterans targeted by scam artists: Unfortunately, the coronavirus, and the worldwide harm it is causing, has done nothing to stop fraudsters from attempting to scam veterans for whatever cash and/or financial information that they can swindle. Government agencies, including the FBI, have issued warnings about a rise in such scams.
Full Story from Boulder City Review

5 Types of Coronavirus Health Scams: Over the past several weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has developed into a global crisis that will have a lasting impact. Unfortunately, scams are part of that narrative. It’s a sad fact of human nature that in times of crisis, scammers and fraudsters often show up to turn quick profit off other people’s fears.
Full Story from U.S. News & World Report

Portland PD warns of a COVID-19 phone scam: The Portland Police Department is warning residents to be aware of a new scam trying to take advantage of fear over the COVID-19 pandemic. The caller tells people their COVID-19 test results are back and ask for their social security number to get the results.
Full Story from Fox 17 in Nashville

APRIL 21, 2020

FBI warns of COVID-19 phishing targeting US health providers: The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) today warned of ongoing phishing campaigns targeting US healthcare providers using COVID-19 themed lures to distribute malicious attachments.
Full Story from Bleeping Computer

Con artists put new twist on “Grandparent scam” during coronavirus pandemic: Marilyn told ABC 6/FOX 28 that someone claiming to be her grandchild called her at home, saying he had gotten into an accident and was arrested shortly after being given medication to treat COVID-19. The caller on the other end of the phone begged for bail money.
Full Story from ABC 6/Fox 28

APRIL 20, 2020

Better Business Bureau says scammers going after unemployed amid pandemic: With unemployment still on the rise due to COVID-19 many people are still trying to file for unemployment. Kelvin Collins with the Better Business Bureau says some unemployment scams work just like the IRS and stimulus checks scams.
Full Story from WGXA-TV

Stimulus Payments Are Popular Leverage for Cyberattacks: Global governments have responded to the coronavirus crisis with stimulus payments intended to help people and businesses. As these Economic Impact Payments roll out across the United States, criminals are launching malicious domains and phishing campaigns to target recipients.
Full story from DarkReading

Online Extortion Scams Increasing During the COVID-19 Crisis: The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has seen an increase in reports of online extortion scams during the current “stay-at-home” orders due to the COVID-19 crisis. Because large swaths of the population are staying at home and likely using the computer more than usual, scammers may use this opportunity to find new victims and pressure them into sending money.
Full Press Release from the FBI IC3

FBI Warns of 4 Cryptocurrency Fraud Schemes tied to COVID-19: The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning that fraudsters are leveraging increased fear and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic to steal money and launder it through the complex cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Full Story from KCBD

U.S. Secret Service in Partnership with the U.S. Department of Treasury Launch – Know Your U.S. Treasury Check Campaign: The Secret Service in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Treasury is leading the charge to bring awareness to citizens, retailers and financial institutions on how to protect themselves from becoming a victim of easy to detect counterfeit U.S. Treasury Checks.
Full Press Release from the U.S. Secret Service

How To Avoid Rental Fraud Spikes In The Next Recession: According to a Transunion Study, 50% of evictions could have been prevented with the proper fraud detection protocol. At a cost of $7,000-plus per eviction, that’s a significant source of revenue leakage. If that weren’t enough, we can expect the coming recession to increase rental fraud.
Full Story from Forbes

Fake Coronavirus Instructions from the White House: In an email digital fraudsters informed recipients that the IRS and the U.S. Department of the Treasury had decided to push Tax Day off until August 15, 2020. They then instructed users and businesses alike to click on a link in order to view the President’s updated guidelines on the coronavirus.
Full Story from Security Boulevard

Hackers exploit HMRC Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme with phishing email scam: A phishing email scam is already being used to target business owners applying for the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Cyber criminals are exploiting the aid package with a highly realistic bogus email, purporting to be from HMRC.
Full Story From TechRadar

APRIL 19, 2020

‘Blessing Loom’ Pyramid Schemes Are Resurfacing Amid Coronavirus Pandemic: The scam, which is commonly known as “Blessing Loom,” involves people recruiting new members to pay an entry fee to join some sort of group. The founding member (or person who replaces them) then pockets those fees and bails, while the new members then have to find fresh recruits to continue paying entry fees.
Full Story from Complex

FBI Warns of Emerging Health Care Fraud Schemes Related to Coronavirus Pandemic: Bad actors are selling faked COVID-19 test kits and unapproved treatments through telemarketing calls.
Full Story from Space Coast Daily

Beware of these fake text messages and robocalls going around about the coronavirus: Text messages and robocalls offering testing kits, bogus treatments or financial relief and claiming to be from government agencies have been reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other government agencies.
Full Story from CNN

5 Coronavirus Scams That Target Older Colorado Residents: No matter what the situation, there will always be unscrupulous individuals out there preying on the fears of unsuspecting senior citizens in an attempt to defraud them. With so much attention being given to the coronavirus, it could be very easy to let your guard down and be taken by one of many scams that are currently operating.
Full Story from Kool 107.9 FM in Colorado

APRIL 17, 2020

Bogus Vaccines. Fake Testing Sites. Virus Frauds Are Flourishing.: Offers of bogus drugs to prevent or treat coronavirus infection. Websites selling fake vaccines. False promises of speedier receipt of government stimulus checks. This is the new face of fraud.
Full Story from The New York Times

APRIL 16, 2020

Scammers are posing as banks to steal stimulus checks, Secret Service warns: The Secret Service and Visa say that, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve seen a rise in sophisticated phone scams in which fraudsters imitate victims’ banks to obtain key security information, then drain their accounts.
Full Story from Fortune

Police department warns public to not click links in scam COVID-19 text messages: A police department in Maine is alerting cell phone users of a text message scam involving COVID-19. The Thomaston Police Department posted on its Facebook page a photo of a text message sent from an Indiana area code telling someone they need to self-isolate because they came in contact with someone with the virus.
Full Story from ABC12 in Maine

COVID-19 scam is targeting senior citizens: The Federal Trade Commission reports that scammers are using the coronavirus to bait senior citizens. Posing as a grandchild or another relative, the scammer claims he’s in the hospital getting treated for the coronavirus.
Full Story from 3 On Your Side in Arizona

Google saw more than 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19 last week: Google says it saw more than 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19 scams just in the past week. That’s on top of the more than 240 million daily spam messages it sees related to the novel coronavirus, the company says.
Full Story from The Verge

APRIL 15, 2020

Coronavirus-Related Spear Phishing Attacks See a Massive 667% Increases in March: Researchers at security vendor Barracuda report an unsettling uptick in the number of attacks seen last month. Over 9000 phishing attack campaigns were detected in March, versus just over 1100 in February and only 137 in January.
Full Blog from KnowBe4

U.S. immigration agency targets coronavirus-related fraud: Coronavirus fraud is being targeted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under a new operation that has led to the seizure of bogus protective equipment and COVID-19 test kits, and over $3 million in illicit proceeds, the agency said on Wednesday.
Full Story from WHTC

APRIL 14, 2020

Coronavirus and your mortgage: Because of the Coronavirus, many people are unable to pay their mortgage. Federal lenders and some private lenders are offering borrowers temporary help, like stopping or delaying foreclosure or modifying the mortgage. If you need help, research the options available to you for getting through these tough times.
Full Blog from the Federal Trade Commission

FTC sends more warnings to sellers of scam Coronavirus treatments: Last month, the FTC and FDA sent warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent the Coronavirus. Today, the FTC sent warning letters to 10 more companies.
Full Blog from the Federal Trade Commission

FBI Warns Rising Cryptocurrency Scams During COVID-19 Pandemic: As cybercriminals continue to exploit the COVID 19 pandemic, the FBI is advising that people be alerted to a spike in COVID-19 related cryptocurrency fraud schemes. The widespread acceptance of cryptocurrency by business and its growing popularity have contributed to the spike in crypto scams.
Full Story from TWJ News

APRIL 13, 2020

‘Thinking of sharing your senior photo on Facebook? Think twice!’ warns Better Business Bureau: Shut in from the novel coronavirus, many are turning to trends and challenges on social media to fill the time and keep spirits raised. One popular trend is posting your high school senior year photo as a show of support for the 2020 graduating seniors whose graduations parties and ceremonies are canceled due to the coronavirus. While the trend is meant well, the Better Business Bureau is raising the alarm.
Full Story from WBAL TV

CT State Police warn residents about coronavirus phishing scams: Connecticut State Police are warning residents about coronavirus phishing scams. Troopers said scammers will send emails about financial relief, hotel refunds, fake cures and vaccines, discounted testing kits and fictitious charities.
Full Story from WTNH

Amid coronavirus outbreak, testing and treatment scams spike: Three weeks ago, Lorina’s cellphone rang. Seeing it was a local call, the 61-year-old Riverside resident picked up. A woman’s voice said she was working with Medicare, the national health insurance program, to distribute tests for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. All she needed was Lorina’s name, address and Social Security and Medicare information.
Full Story from the Los Angeles Times

Looking for work after Coronavirus layoffs?: Ads offer a variety of work-at-home jobs – lnternet businesses, shipping or mailing work, selling goods, and more. But many of these “jobs” are scams, aimed at getting your money, and won’t deliver on the claims they make.
Full Blog from the Federal Trade Commission

How a ‘scam’ COVID-19 aid effort solicited donations from Duke students on social media: Duke students have organized to provide money and resources to local communities amid the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, a network of now-deleted social media accounts attempted to solicit donations for alleged assistance to the Duke and Durham communities with unclear identities or intentions.
Full Story from The Chronicle at Duke

APRIL 11, 2020

Coronavirus-killing silver, fake tests, CDC impersonators: Feds rush to stamp out scams: Coronavirus fraud has already cost consumers $12 million, and government officials worry it could damage efforts to contain the virus.
Full Story from Politico

APRIL 10, 2020

Americans are losing money to coronavirus scams at a startling rate: Consumers have filed over 15,000 complaints claiming nearly $12 million in losses from COVID-19 related scams, according to a Federal Trade Commission report. More than half of the losses were reported in the first nine days of April, Business Insider reports, indicating a startling shift as the coronavirus crisis continues to spread around the globe. Should the current rate of fraudulent claims continue, Americans could reportedly lose more than $100 million by July.
Full Story from Yahoo! News

Scammers are using COVID-19 messages to scam people: Scammers are experts at shifting tactics and changing their messages to catch you off guard. This is especially true as they take advantage of anxieties related to the Coronavirus. Here’s a quick alert about some current government imposter scams using COVID-19 that are popping up on our radar.
Full Blog from the Federal Trade Commission

APRIL 9, 2020

Surge in Online Shopping Drives Major Increase in Coronavirus-Themed Fraud Attempts: Attempts to defraud consumers are on the rise, as scammers exploit the surge in online activity during the COVID-19 lockdown. Merchants are starting to suffer dramatic increases in COVID-19-related phishing activities, with stolen credentials released into the eCommerce payments chain, as well as increased friendly fraud activities, according to payment solutions provider ACI Worldwide.
Full Story from Security Boulevard

Kentucky Lottery warns of uptick in scam phone calls during COVID-19 pandemic: Kentucky Lottery officials are warning of an uptick in scam phone calls since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in which players are told they have won a large cash prize from the organization.
Full Story from the Courier Journal

Suspicious worker avoids becoming scam victim: An administrative assistant at a Lexington insurance firm narrowly avoided losing $800 to a scammer pretending to be her boss in a message to her office email address, according to the Better Business Bureau.
Full Story from WTVQ in Kentucky

Remote learning and children’s privacy: While your child is at home due to coronavirus-related school closures, it’s important to protect their privacy and security online. Learn more about your child’s privacy rights and find resources from the FTC.
Full Story from the Federal Trade Commission

The Pandemic Exploit: Cyber criminals ramping up phishing attacks amid COVID-19 crisis: Cybercrime continues to spike during the coronavirus outbreak. Advisen news provides insights on business continuity plans, preventing breach, and ongoing safety.
Full Story from Advisen Front Page News

APRIL 8, 2020

Coronavirus checks: flattening the scam curve: There’s a lot to worry about when it comes to the Coronavirus crisis, including the new ways scammers are using the economic impact payments (so-called “stimulus checks”) to trick people.
Full Blog from the Federal Trade Commission

UK and US Security Agencies Issue COVID-19 Cyber Threat Update: A joint advisory published today (April 8, 2020) by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) shows that cyber criminals and advanced persistent threat (APT) groups are targeting individuals and organizations with a range of ransomware and malware.
Full Blog from CISA

FDA warns about at-home COVID-19 test kit scams: The Food and Drug Administration is warning the public about unauthorized test kits that may be marketed to test for COVID-19 at home.
Full Story from ABC7 News in California

Avoid scams while finding help during quarantine: Older adults may be hard hit by the coronavirus – and scammers prey on that. If you or someone you know must stay at home and needs help with errands, you’ll want to know about this latest scam. Scammers are offering help with errands, and running off with your money.
Full Blog from the Federal Trade Commission

Avoiding SSA scams during COVID-19: While some of you are home, practicing social distancing and frequent hand washing to avoid the Coronavirus, remember that scammers are still busy trying to take advantage of people. Some scammers are pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and trying to get your Social Security number or your money.
Full Blog From the Federal Trade Commission

APRIL 6, 2020

Coronavirus-Related Medicare Scam Alert: We’re warning Medicare beneficiaries that scammers may try to use this pandemic to steal their Medicare number, banking information, or other personal data.
Full Blog from the Social Security Administration

FTC Releases COVID-19 Complaints Report: From 1 January to 6 April 2020, the FTC received 12,634 COVID-19 fraud reports and $8.87 million in total reported losses.
Full Report from the Federal Trade Commission

Michigan State Firemen’s Association warns of email scam amid COVID-19 pandemic: On Sunday, a national email phishing scam was distributed in the state, according to the Michigan State Firemen’s Association President Michael McLeieer. The scam requests the recipient to purchase gift cards for preventative items for those affected by the coronavirus disease 2019.
Full Story from WWMT in West Michigan

Beware of donation scams during ongoing Coronavirus outbreak: As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, we’ve seen the good in people with businesses and individuals donating to those in need. Now, officials are urging the public to make sure their money is actually going to a good cause.
Full Story from KOHN2

APRIL 5, 2020

Scammers are creating Netflix lookalikes to target people staying at home: Scammers are focusing more attention on people looking to stream content from Netflix during what has quickly become the stay-at-home era. Researchers at the cybersecurity security firm Check Point recently released a study noting a substantial rise in the number of cyberattacks performed by websites posing as the streaming giant in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Full Story from USA Today

Scam targets small-business owners seeking payroll relief: U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ office is warning small-business owners of another emerging scam targeting those who are seeking payroll relief through the new Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act.
Full Story from Bangor Daily News

Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force warns of economic relief scammers: The Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI) are warning taxpayers to be alert about possible scams relating to COVID-19 economic impact payments.
Full Story from NBC29

WV Attorney General warns of utility scam: West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urges residents to be wary of scammers who may threaten to shutoff service, even as several public utilities have suspended terminations for nonpayment during the coronavirus pandemic.
Full Story from WOWK 13 News

Coronavirus pandemic generates new fraud strains: COVID-19 scams on computers, smartphones: Cybercriminals are looking to profit from pandemic fears – using concerns about a human-transmitted virus to spread computer viruses, if you will – with a fresh crop of malicious software and scams. 
Full Story from USA Today

APRIL 2, 2020

IRS Stimulus Check Scams Ramp Up: A PSA from the Identity Theft Resource Center warns consumers that stimulus check scams are in full-swing. Scammers are targeting individuals via robocalls impersonating the IRS.
Full Story from ITRC

Pa. attorney general: Look out for scams trying to capitalize on coronavirus unemployment rates: Attorney General Josh Shapiro today warned Pennsylvanians that scammers are trying to take advantage of the historic rise in unemployment across the state by using fake unemployment filing websites in order to steal personal information or to harvest the data to sell to others for uses not properly disclosed to the user.
Full Blog from the Press & Journal

FBI Warns Of Costco Coronavirus ‘Stimulus Check’ Scam: Text messages claiming to offer “goodies” from big box chain Costco as part of a “COVID-19 stimulus package” for the store’s “loyal customers” are not only fraudulent, but they also include links that may contain malware or ransomware, the FBI says.
Full Story from CBS Chicago

Don’t be fooled by coronavirus scams — or pay $20 for a four-pack of toilet paper: Opportunity is knocking for crooks looking to profit from the pain and anxiety triggered by the pandemic. Don’t answer their call. From online pitches for bogus COVID-19 vaccinations and home test kits, to fake offers for federal stimulus checks, officials say scammers are out in force trying to take advantage of a nation in crisis.
Full Story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

APRIL 1, 2020

Cybercriminals targeting Zoom, Google and Teams domains: The increased video conferencing activity due to COVID-19 has given cybercriminals the opportunity to use typosquatting and URL hijacking by imitating many of the top conferencing platforms.
Full Story from SC Magazine

Coronavirus fraud is so bad the FTC made a scam bingo card: With much of the country in quarantine advised to practice social distancing measures, the risk of scams has spiked. Already, coronavirus-related robocalls have gotten worse as scammers have pivoted to use fear and isolation to their advantage. Things have gotten so bad that the FTC has experimented with other ways to get people to pay attention: like a scam bingo card.
Full Story from Yahoo! Finance

Want to get your Coronavirus relief check? Scammers do too: You’ve probably heard the news by now – the government is sending out relief checks as part of the federal response to the Coronavirus. Scammers heard the same thing, and they’re hoping to cash in on yours.
Full Blog from the Federal Trade Commission

The Cybersecurity 202: Coronavirus pandemic unleashes unprecedented number of online scams: Coronavirus has inspired an unprecedented number of online scams targeting people and businesses – and researchers say the wave of attacks is just getting started.
Full Story from The Washington Post

MARCH 31, 2020

Cash App scammers are using coronavirus to exploit people: Scammers are using fake Twitter giveaways and payment applications like Cash App, Paypal, Zelle, Venmo, or Apple Pay to lure people into sending them money.
Full Story from Quartz

Cybercriminals Targeting Video Communications Platform Zoom: In a report released March 30, security software firm Check Point found that cybercriminals are targeting the video communications platform Zoom.
Full Story from MeriTalk

‘Its a scam’: Calls, emails, or texts about government stimulus checks are bogus: Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Drew David says criminals are posing as the IRS just days after the federal government announced that it would be distributing stimulus checks to taxpayers as part of a $2 trillion effort to bolster the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Full Story from KLFY in Louisiana

MARCH 30, 2020

60 and over in the time of COVID-19?: Right now, scammers are scuttling out of their dark corners to offer false hope (Home test kits! A cure!) and use fear (Your Social Security number is about to be revoked! Your loved one is in trouble!) – all to get your money or information.
Full Blog from the Federal Trade Commission

BlueCross BlueShield warns members of coronavirus scams: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is warning its members that scammers are taking advantage of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The health insurer said reported scams include unsolicited phone calls that could be an attempt to fraudulently gain personal information.
Full Story from Wate 6 on Your Side in Tennessee

FBI: Coronavirus-related scams are increasing: The FBI says scams are dealing with fake charities, stimulus checks, even counterfeit PPE and sanitizing products.
Full Story from WCNC

MARCH 28, 2020

Coronavirus stimulus check scams are out to swindle you out of $1,200: Do not give out your PayPal account information, Social Security number, bank account number or anything else if someone claims such information is essential to sign you up for a stimulus check relating to the coronavirus pandemic. 
Full Story from USA Today

Socially distancing from COVID-19 robocall scams: Scammers – and scammy companies – are using illegal robocalls to profit from Coronavirus-related fears. Listen to some of the latest scammy robocall pitches, so you can be on the lookout and know how to respond.
Full Blog from the Federal Trade Commission

New Coronavirus warning letters: Who can it be now?: In the ongoing battle against Coronavirus scams, FTC staff just sent warning letters to nine companies reminding them of the potential ramifications of behind-the-scenes involvement in illegal COVID-19 promotions.
Full Blog from the Federal Trade Commission

“Mandatory” COVID-19 Test Texts are a Scam: In the past few days, BBB Scam Tracker has gotten numerous reports of phony text messages claiming to be from a government agency.
Full Story from the Better Business Bureau 

MARCH 26, 2020

FBI issues warning about COVID-19 stimulus-package scams:Hackers and scammers online have ramped up attacks to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic, and that could mean targeting the US COVID-19 relief effort next, the FBI has warned. .
Full Story from CNET

Default exploited by ‘Zoom bombers’ could be used by cybercrooks: The same default setting that allows attackers to “Zoom bomb” schoolchildren or remote workers meeting online with racist and pornographic content could be used to by cybercriminals to unleash their malicious bag of tricks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Full Story from SC Magazine

Brooksville man sounds alarm on fake COVID-19 relief check in mail: A Brooksville man is sounding the alarm after he received what appeared to be a fake relief check in the mail.
Full Story from 8 On Your Side in Florida

MARCH 25, 2020

Seven Coronavirus scams targeting your business: We’ve warned consumers about Coronavirus-related scams, but businesses are at risk, too. Keep your guard up against these seven B2B scams that try to exploit companies’ concerns about COVID-19.
Full Story from the Federal Trade Commission

MARCH 23, 2020

Scammers are out in full-force as the country grapples with the coronavirus: The attorney general is reporting scammers are telling people that in order to get money passed by congress, citizens must pay an upfront fee.
Full Story from CBS46 News Atlanta

Alma PD Warns Against Loan Forgiveness Scams: The Alma Police Department is warning Michiganders about coronavirus scams. Officers say some phony documents are advertising loan forgiveness programs.
Full Story from 9&10 News in Michigan

MARCH 22, 2020

Justice Department Files Its First Enforcement Action Against COVD-19 Fraud: “Attorney General Barr has directed the department to prioritize fraud schemes arising out of the coronavirus emergency.”
Full Story from the US Department of Justice

Scam artists try to take advantage of people during the coronavirus pandemic: Scammers are acting as government officials telling potential victims that they’re there to clean and wipe down their homes, checking for the coronavirus.
Full Story from Fox 10 News Phoenix

District Attorney Warns Residents To Beware Of Coronavirus Email Phishing Scams: The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office is encouraging Santa Clarita residents to watch out for email phishing scams capitalizing on the coronavirus crisis in an effort to protect personal information.
Full Story from KHTS Radio in California

MARCH 20, 2020

Attorney General Urges American Public to Report COVID-19 Fraud: William P. Barr urges those targeted by COVID-19 related scams and fraud to report to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF).
Full Story from the US Department of Justice

FBI Sees Rise in Fraud Schemes Related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both.
Full PSA from the FBI

BBB Issues Warning About Vaccine Claims, Mask Sales: The Better Business Bureau is warning the public that scammers will try and take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic. Scammers can go after your personal and financial information text messages, social media, email, and phone calls.
Full Story the CBS Boston

US Attorney for Maryland warns of coronavirus fraudsters: If you see an offer for a coronavirus “vaccine” or “cure” that seems too good to be true — it is. That’s the warning from the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s office.
Full Story from WTOP News in Maryland

MARCH 19, 2020

Government Relief Checks Trigger Latest Coronavirus Scam: The proposed federal stimulus package announced this week includes sending every American a check to offset lost income from the coronavirus crisis. Watch out for these phony government grants that ask for personal and banking information.
Full Blog from the Better Business Bureau

'Dirty little secret' extortion email threatens to give your family coronavirus: Cybercriminals really do know no limits. Remember sextortion, where they say they’ll spam your friends and family with x-rated photos of you that they got via malware? Well, the Sophos Security team just sent us a phish they received that shows the stakes just got a lot higher and way more offensive. They’re threatening to infect your family with coronavirus.
Full Story from Naked Security by Sophos

Scam robocalls are pitching fake coronavirus tests to vulnerable Americans: Every day for the past week, fraudsters have placed an estimated 1 million or more suspected suspicious calls about coronavirus to Americans’ smartphones. The robocalls at times even have pitched fraudulent testing services.
Full Story from The Washington Post

MARCH 18, 2020

Alabama Power warns against telephone scam capitalizing on COVID-19 fears: Alabama Power is warning its customers of a phone scam. The company says people are calling over the phone, pretending to be Alabama Power representatives, and demanding immediate payment on accounts.
Full Story from MyNBC15 in Alabama

Beware the pandemic scam: Bowie police warn about fake ‘coronavirus inspector’: A man claiming to be a City of Bowie employee inspecting for coronavirus tried to enter one home and broke into a second, the Bowie Police Department said Tuesday.
Full Story from The Baltimore Sun

COVID-19 Map Malware Can Spy On You Through Your Android Microphone And Camera: Watch out for any links texted to your Android phone promising an app to track coronavirus. Downloading the application will let snoops watch you through your smartphone camera, listen to you through your microphone or pilfer all your text messages.
Full Story from Forbes

Online scammers target vulnerable Internet users during coronavirus outbreak: Online scammers are on the offensive, looking to exploit the fears of vulnerable Internet users anxious for more information about the coronavirus outbreak, according to cybersecurity experts who are tracking current digital threats.
Full Story from ABC News

FTC warns about checks from the government: As the Coronavirus takes a growing toll on people’s pocketbooks, there are reports that the government will soon be sending money by check or direct deposit to each of us. The details are still being worked out, but there are a few really important things to know, no matter what this looks like.
Full Story from the Federal Trade Commission

MARCH 17, 2020

Secret Service Warning: Exploiting the Coronavirus for Fraud and Profit: KnowBe4 shares a review of coronavirus-themed spam emails as well as a press release from the US Secret Service.
Full Blog from KnowBe4

How to protect yourself against coronavirus scams: Scammers looking to profit off of fears surrounding COVID-19, like setting up websites that sell bogus products claiming to cure the virus.
Full Story from 9 News in Colorado

MARCH 16, 2020

Army, White House Issue Warnings About Coronavirus Hoaxes and Scams: The White House is warning the public to ignore rumors of a national quarantine for the novel coronavirus, which were circulated by text message.
Full Story from Military.com

Coronavirus Map Malware: A fake map impersonating the Johns Hopkins world map installs malware on users’ computers upon clicking. This phishing link is malicious password-stealing. Find the real Johns Hopkins site
Full Blog from KnowBe4 

Password found to rescue victims of malicious COVID-19 tracker app: COVID-19 Android Ransomware threat addressed by cybersecurity and IT community. Password released to rescue victims from malicious software.
Full Story from SC Magazine

FEBRUARY 27, 2020

Amazon bars one million products for false Coronavirus claims: Amazon discusses financial purchase scams in the wake of COVID-19. For recovery after a financial purchase scam, visit the Fraud Support organization resource page.
Full Story from Reuters