As always, the police department is here to serve and protect our community as we face this unprecedented time. A crisis like this can bring out the best in people, but unfortunately, it also brings out the worst. Scammers never miss an opportunity to prey on the fear or sympathy of the public and are already using this crisis to take advantage of and defraud you. Fake web sites, phone calls, email, and disinformation circulating social media are making the rounds. According to United States Attorney’s Office, the following are a list of COVID-19 scams to be aware of:
• Treatment scams: Fake cures, vaccines, and advice on unproven treatments.
• Supply scams: Fake shops, websites, social media accounts, and email addresses claiming to sell medical supplies currently in high demand, such as surgical masks.
• Provider scams: Contact by phone and email, pretending to be doctors and hospitals that have treated a friend or relative for COVID-19, and demanding payment for that treatment.
• Charity scams: Soliciting donations for individuals, groups, and areas affected by COVID-19.
• Phishing scams: Posing as national and global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), scammers are sending phishing emails designed to trick you into downloading malware or providing personal identifying and financial information.
• App scams: Creating and manipulating mobile apps designed to track the spread of COVID-19 to insert malware that will compromise your devices and personal information.
• Investment scams: Offering online promotions on various platforms, including social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19, and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.
We recommend that you always question when asked to buy or supply your financial information and never give your personal or financial information to anyone unless you can and have verified they are legitimate. To learn more on how to combat and report these scams, go to https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
James A. Reese
Chief of Police
Emerald Isle Police Department
7500 Emerald Dr
Emerald Isle, NC 28594