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Virginia Attorney General issues warning about coronavirus scams

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Posted at 3:37 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 16:03:26-04

With everyone so focused on the novel coronavirus right now, scammers are taking advantage of that.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says his office is getting reports of all kinds of scams circulating.

Some of them are from people claiming to have vaccines, cures or home test kits for COVID-19, which don't really exist. There are also fake emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO) with malicious links and attachments.

Others claim they need your personal information for you to get your stimulus check.

Herring says a scammer even sent one of those emails to his office.

"[It was] asking for account information because of the federal stimulus, so you know if the attorney general is getting one, they’re all out there. They’re being pushed out electronically, online, using robocalls, that type of technology, and unfortunately with today’s technology it can seem authentic, it can seem real, and that’s what scammers are counting on," Herring told News 3.

You have to be vigilant, because if you fall for one of these scams, there's not a lot that can be done.

"Once they click on a suspicious link, if it's a phishing scam, you know, that's probably too late. It could be infecting your computer with something or it could be stealing your personal information. If you send money, if you give out debit card information, it's probably going to be too late to get it back. We'll certainly do everything we can, but the best way Virginia consumers can protect themselves is to use common sense," Herring said.

That means you should never wire money or send a prepaid card. It's like sending someone cash, and you won't be able to get it back.

Don't give out or confirm your personal information to someone who reaches out to you.

And don't automatically trust the email address or phone number of the person reaching out to you. Scammers can make it look like they're from a legitimate organization or agency.

If you're unsure about a call or email from a company, go to their official website, get their contact information and then reach out to them yourself.