Portland Police warning citizens about coronavirus scams

Mar 27 2020, 11:47 am

The Portland Police have taken to social media to share warnings about potential scams abusing elevated fears during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police linked to a list from US Attorney Billy J. Williams, that offers a breakdown of the various methods used by scammers to take advantage of the vunerable during this difficult time.

Testing scams: Scammers are selling fake at-home test kits or going door-to-door performing fake tests for money.

Treatment scams: Scammers are offering to sell fake cures, vaccines, and advice on unproven treatments for coronavirus.

Supply scams: Scammers are creating fake shops, websites, social media accounts, and email addresses claiming to sell medical supplies currently in high demand, such as surgical masks. When consumers attempt to purchase supplies through these channels, fraudsters pocket the money and never provide the promised supplies.

Provider scams: Scammers are contacting people by phone and email, pretending to be doctors and hospitals that have treated a friend or relative for coronavirus, and demanding payment for that treatment.

Charity scams: Scammers are soliciting donations for individuals, groups, and areas affected by coronavirus.

Phishing scams: Scammers posing as national and global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are sending phishing emails designed to trick recipients into downloading malware or providing personal identifying and financial information.

App scams: Scammers are creating and manipulating mobile apps designed to track the spread of coronavirus to insert malware that will compromise users’ devices and personal information.

Investment scams: Scammers are offering online promotions on various platforms, including social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus, and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result. These promotions are often styled as “research reports,” make predictions of a specific “target price,” and relate to microcap stocks, or low-priced stocks issued by the smallest of companies with limited publicly available information.

Oregonians are warned to stay vigilant as they ingest information surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, and be wary of unsolicited attempts to gather information, funds, or personal data.

To help combat the escalating problem on a country-wide scale, the National Guard has set-up a hotline and email address for those who feel like they, or someone they know, may very well be a victim of a fraud. Call the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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