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Police warn against COVID-19 scams

Released on Wednesday, March 25, 2020
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In recent weeks, law enforcement agencies around the country have received reports of scams associated with COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus. While scams continually evolve, here are some current themes and tactics to watch out for:

COVID-19 Testing Kits: Scammers claim that people can bypass medical professionals and get tested for coronavirus for a nominal fee. Phishing scammers may offer free home testing kits in exchange for personal information. THIS IS A SCAM. Testing is not available in this manner.

Government Stimulus Checks: Scammers claim that government stimulus money is available and that individuals must click on a link, provide personal information, and/or share financial information in order to receive the funds. THIS IS A SCAM. If you receive correspondence about a stimulus payment, visit the IRS or other official government website to verify information.

These "offers" typically come as text messages, calls (robocall or real person), and emails. Never provide personal or financial information to an unsolicited caller. Avoid clicking on links from unknown or unexpected email senders - these can install malware on your computer or device. Remember that government agencies will never demand payment over the phone. In general, if you believe you may owe money, need to resolve a legal issue, or have questions about a service being offered, hang up and research/call the organization directly.

"Unfortunately, criminals take advantage of people during times of uncertainty," said Sergeant Mike Knudsen, who runs the Fort Collins Police Fraud and Forgery Unit. "Scammers are extremely convincing, and anyone can become a victim. We encourage our community members to stay scam-aware and share this information with their loved ones."

For more COVID-19 scam information from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), including samples of actual COVID-19 scam robocalls, visit https://www.fcc.gov/covid-scams.

If you lose money to a scammer, please file a theft report online immediately. If you are not a victim but would like to report a suspected scam, visit https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.