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FBI warns of Costco scam related to coronavirus pandemic

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Posted at 6:45 AM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 06:45:09-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- The FBI says scammers are using the coronavirus pandemic to steal your money and personal information by pretending to be companies like Costco.

People are getting texts or emails claiming to be from Costco that have a link for a stimulus check for loyal customers.

However, the link contains malware that could let hackers steal your information. Officials say to ignore the messages or delete them.

"Protect yourself and do your 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."

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF CORONAVIRUS

The FBI says you should watch out for the following:

Fake CDC Emails

Emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other organizations that claim to offer information about the coronavirus. Do not click on any links or attachments you don't recognize.

Phishing Emails

Look out for emails asking you to verify your information. Some may claim the information is required to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. Official agencies are not sending unsolicited emails.

RELATED: Scammers are already targeting your stimulus check, Florida Attorney General warns

Some 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 people selling items they claim can prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19. As well as counterfeit products such as sanitizing products and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns, and gloves.

The FBI is also reminding you to use good cyber hygiene and security measures:

  • 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).