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Postal officials warn of uptick in scams amid COVID-19 pandemic

Screengrab shows the CDC Newsroom webpage alerting of

Screengrab shows the CDC Newsroom webpage alerting of a phising email referencincing flu pandemic. Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service offered advice and warnings Thursday amid a recent uptick in pandemic-related scams involving mail and wire fraud. 

Among the points: Beware of charity scams; don't give out financial information — and know that, as of now, there is no cure or approved treatment for COVID-19.

The USPIS warns:

  • Be aware of charity scams and contribute only to established organizations.
  • Don't click on links in emails, especially those claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control or the World Health Organization. Access those sites directly.
  • Be wary of offers related to vaccines, pills, potions, lotions or other products claiming to treat the coronavirus.
  • Don't give out financial information or any other personal information to strangers.
  • Resist pressure tactics seeking immediate financial decisions.
  • Know who you can trust and consult a trusted counsel before making any payment.

Recent scams include: the sale of fake at-home testing kits either via mail, online or door-to-door, and others involving medical and cleaning supplies in high demand from self-proclaimed sellers who are really just trying to bilk victims out of money.

 There have also been provider scams, where individuals claim to be health care providers or medical professionals needing payment to treat a COVID-19 patient; app scams claiming to track the spread of the coronavirus but are really embedded with malware seeking personal information; and scams offering investments in companies that can prevent, detect or cure COVID-19.

The USPIS advisory provides a series of reminders for residents on how to protect themselves against scams, and asks that if you believe you have been targeted to call local police or contact the inspection service at uspis.gov or at 877-876-2455.

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