SCAM ALERT: Protect Yourself From COVID-19 Related Scams

COVID-19 UPDATE Check out the latest Glacier Country Tourism information on communication response and resources.

As we confront the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s important to take steps to protect your health and that of others. It’s also important to protect yourself against scams related to COVID-19. Below are some common cons and how you can prevent becoming a victim to scammers.


Scammers claiming to help you get a government payment or grant:

Scammers may claim to be from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and promise to help you get COVID-19 related grants or checks in exchange for personal information. This is a scam.

Here’s what the Treasury Department says:

"If you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, please do not respond. These are scams. Please contact the FBI at https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx so that the scammers can be tracked and stopped."

Information about how the IRS will distribute economic impact payments may be found HERE.


Fake charity scams:

Unfortunately, scammers use events like this pandemic to take advantage of your generosity. Many will even use names that resemble that of a real charity. What can you do? Here are a couple of tips:

  • Do some research about the charity. Make sure it’s real and reputable, and know how your donation will be used.
  • When donating, use your credit card only on secure websites. Do not pay by gift cards or wire transfer – this is how scammers seek payment.

Click HERE to learn more from the Federal Trade Commission about how to avoid scams involving fake charities.


Scams from robocalls and text messages:

Criminals seeking to obtain your sensitive personal and financial information may use robocalls and text messages to rob you.

Here are helpful tips from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about how to protect yourself from scams:

  • Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
  • Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
  • Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
  • Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding.  Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money.
  • Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren't hacked.

Visit the FCC website HERE to learn more about common telephone or text message scams and how to protect yourself.


Scam offers about COVID-19:

The Federal Trade Commission provides resources about how to avoid common scams, including products with unsupported claims about treating COVID-19, fake test kits, and scams targeting senior citizens, businesses, and others.

Visit the FTC’s website HERE to learn more about the scams they’ve uncovered and how to avoid becoming a victim of them.


Fake emails, texts, and phishing :

Often, emails or texts from scammers contain ransomware or other malicious programs that are designed to steal your valuable personal information, including your social security number and login information for your bank accounts. 

Help avoid this scam by keeping your software updated and using security software. 

For more information, please visit the FTC’s website on Phishing scam.


Avoiding misinformation and rumors:

Another way of scamming people is through misinformation and rumors. To be sure you have accurate information relating to COVID-19, use trusted sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization. The Federal Agency of Emergency Management (FEMA) has also released information on rumors related to COVID-19.


For federal resources about how to protect yourself from scams:

Please report COVID-19 related fraud schemes by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline toll-free at 1-866-720-5721 or by emailing disaster@leo.gov. If you think you’ve found a cyber scam, please submit the complaint to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.