Cybercriminals and online fraudsters are sending out phishing emails, text messages and setting up robocalls offering “discounted” coronavirus test kits, masks and even hand sanitizers — all bogus offerings — in an attempt to scam the public.

Claiming to be medical experts, they are also advertising bogus treatments and vaccines.

They are also creating fake websites purporting to be the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) or even the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and tricking unsuspecting visitors into clicking on links that will infect their devices with malware that steals financial and personal information.

Phishing emails have also offered to expedite government relief checks.

Here are some preventive tips on how not to be duped by these cybercriminals:

Beware of online requests for personal information, such as your Social Security number.
Check the email address or link. You can inspect a link by hovering your mouse button over the URL to see where it leads.
Do not click on links in emails or texts.
Watch for spelling and punctuation mistakes, and bad grammar.
Beware of contact tracing scams. Do not provide personal information or click on any links from an unverified source.
Avoid emails that insist you act now. Phishing emails often try to create a sense of urgency or demand immediate action.
Do not download, view or open any email attachments sent to you.
Do not reply to the email, text message or robocall.
Ignore online offers for vaccinations. They do not exist yet.
Be wary of ads for test kits. Most test kits being advertised have not been approved by the FDA and are not accurate.

If you feel you have been victimized by a scam, contact your financial institution or credit card company, and report it to your local law enforcement agency.

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