Farmingville, NY - Supervisor Ed Romaine is warning residents to be aware of telephone and internet fraud during the Coronavirus pandemic. In a recent Public Service Announcement issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), “Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both.” They strongly recommend that they should do their own research “before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; purchasing products online; or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits.”
Supervisor Romaine said, “Unfortunately, there are scammers who use times like this to take advantage of people and in many cases, they target the elderly who are most vulnerable to fraud. I hope that everyone will heed the warnings of law enforcement and beware of people who ask for your personal or financial information. If anyone believes that they have been a victim of fraud or even a target, they should report it immediately.”
•Contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via email at email@example.com
•Report it to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov
•If it’s a cyber scam, submit your complaint through https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx In the FBI’s announcement, they advise everyone to look out for the following:
Fake CDC Emails. Watch out for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other organizations claiming to offer information on the virus. Do not click links or open attachments you do not recognize. Fraudsters can use links in emails to deliver malware to your computer to steal personal information or to lock your computer and demand payment. Be wary of websites and apps claiming to track COVID19 cases worldwide. Criminals are using malicious websites to infect and lock devices until payment is received.
Phishing Emails. Look out for phishing emails asking you to verify your personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news cycle, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking your private information in order to send you money. Phishing emails may also claim to be related to:
• Charitable contributions
• General financial relief
• Airline carrier refunds
• Fake cures and vaccines
• Fake testing kits
Counterfeit Treatments or Equipment. Be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. Be alert to counterfeit products such as sanitizing products and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns, and gloves. More information on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at the Center for Disease Control website. You can also find information on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website, and the Environmental Protection Agency website. Report counterfeit products and to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center.
If you are looking for accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19, the CDC has posted extensive guidance and information that is updated frequently. The best sources for authoritative information on COVID-19 are the Center for Disease Control and www.coronavirus.gov. You may also consult your primary care physician for guidance.
The FBI is reminding you to always use good cyber hygiene and security measures. By remembering the following tips, you can protect yourself and help stop criminal activity:
• Do not open attachments or click links within emails from senders you don’t recognize.
• Do not provide your username, password, date of birth, social security number, financial data, or other personal information in response to an email or robocall.
• Always verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into your browser.
• Check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link (for example, an address that should end in a “.gov” ends in “.com” instead).
If you believe you are the victim of an Internet scam or cyber crime, or if you want to report suspicious activity, please visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Division of Public Information * Office of the Supervisor
One Independence Hill • Farmingville • NY 11738 • Phone 631-451-6595