HOLLYWOOD, FL – As fears over COVID-19 (coronavirus) are on the rise, so are scammers who are trying to exploit the situation. From cheap and shoddy merchandise to phishing emails and fake charitable causes, criminals are cashing in on this epidemic. In light of these events, the Broward’s Sheriff’s Office has released the following public service announcement including basic tips on avoiding scams and protecting your health.
Spot a Scam:
- Scams can include social media posts, texts and websites meant to take your personal information and money and infect computers.
- Think twice before investing in companies who say they are working on a coronavirus cure. Check official sources like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission before being lured into a scam.
- Be aware of fake fundraising. Verify the charity is legitimate. If someone wants donations in cash, gift card or by wiring money, don’t do it.
- Watch out for online marketing of vaccinations or products claiming to treat the virus.
- Do not click on unfamiliar links or emails. Phishing emails may mention the coronavirus, medical supplies or claim to be from government, national or local health organizations in order to get users to open the message that unleashes malware.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus.
- Be aware of entering personal information into websites.
Protect Your Health:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you feel ill.
- Call your healthcare professional if you feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing and have been in close contact with a person known to have confirmed coronavirus.
- Stay informed and up to date with information directly from the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) and the Florida Department of Health (http://www.floridahealth.gov/ websites.
- Per Florida Department of Health in Broward County, if you think that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, especially through travel in the last 14 days, particularly to countries such as China, Iran, South Korea, Italy and Japan, or close contact with someone known to have COVID-19, please immediately self-isolate. Please call your health care provider and the Florida Department of Health in Broward County COVID-19 Call Center at 954-412-7300 before travelling to any healthcare facility.