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FBI: Cons And Hucksters Exploit Coronavius Fears

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Brian Bull/NIH
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Fears and uncertainty over COVID-19 may make people susceptible to scams, warns the Oregon FBI.

It’s safe to say the pandemic has people on edge, and many want to be as safe as possible from the effects of coronavirus. 

Renn Cannon is an FBI Special Agent in Charge.  He says it’s a good time to be aware of crooks and hackers.

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Credit FDA's Office of Regulatory Affairs, Health Fraud Branch / Flickr.com
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'Colloidal Silver" is a product promoted with unapproved claims to prevent, treat, mitigate, or even cure COVID-19. The FDA warns consumers to avoid unproven and potentially unsafe products.

“So an example might be an email purporting to be from the Centers for Disease Control, and really it’s not, it’s from a fraudster who has mocked that up to show something that would be interesting at a time like this, like “Here’s a map of different coronavirus cases.”

"And if you click the link, rather than seeing the map, it’d put a virus on your computer.”

Emails asking for financial information in order to process compensation for COVID-19 related losses is another scam. 

Agent Cannon says to also beware of hucksters selling miracle cures.  Health officials say an effective vaccine for coronavirus is at least a year away.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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