By Sheriff Carmine Marceno

During these uncertain times, scammers are not taking a break. They are shifting tactics and changing their message to catch you off guard. They are taking advantage of anxieties related to the Coronavirus.

Noted below are a few known scams circulating during the pandemic:

Medicare Scam– they will offer things like the COVID-19 Kit, they will ask you to verify your information such as bank account, social security, or Medicare numbers.

IRS Stimulus Checks– scammers are sending official-looking messages including postcards with a password to be used online to “access” or “verify” your payment or direct deposit information. The IRS will NOT contact you to collect your personal information or bank account.

Tech Support– now that so many people are working from home they are calling you claiming to be from Microsoft and they want to report a virus on your system.

Bitcoin Blackmail– you receive an email stating they (scammers) hacked into your computer and recorded you visiting adult websites. They threaten to show the video to family, friends, and coworkers if you do not pay their Bitcoin account.

To help protect yourself follow these tips:

  1. Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
  2. Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
  3. Be cautious if you are being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
  4. Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding. Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money.
  5. Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they were not hacked.
  6. Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before donating.
  7. If you are asked to pay with a gift card, it is a scam.
  8. Change passwords often.

If you think you have become a victim of a scam, please call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line at 239-258-3292 or report it to the Federal Trade Commission

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