Georgians warned of scams exploiting coronavirus pandemic


Source: Cherokee Tribune & Ledger-News

State Attorney General Chris Carr is warning Georgians to watch out for a growing number of scammers seeking to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Scam artists are using fraudulent websites, texts and e-mails to steal consumers’ personal or financial information or to install malware on their communications devices.

“Scammers are pursuing different angles related to the coronavirus pandemic to commit identity theft, create chaos and steal people’s money,” Carr said Wednesday. “People should be very wary of messages containing links or requests for their personal or financial information.”

The attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division has received complaints about text messages warning the recipient that someone they’ve been in contact with either has tested positive for COVID-19 or shown symptoms of the virus. The victim is referred to a website that asks for their phone number.

More than 110,000 suspicious coronavirus-related domains have been registered, according to the attorney general’s office.

Another scam that has been reported involves e-mails purported to be from hospitals warning the recipient they may have come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The e-mail contains an attachment that, when downloaded, installs malware on the recipient’s device.

Consumers should also watch out for e-mails, text messages and robocalls about COVID-19 stimulus money that appear to come from the U.S. Treasury, but which may actually be coming from scammers impersonating government officials. In these scams, consumers are told that to receive stimulus money they should click on a link or go to a website, where they are then directed to enter their personal and financial information.

The Consumer Protection Division cautions consumers not to click on any links or go to websites that come from unsolicited texts, e-mails or phone calls.