Scammers may use coronavirus to hook victims

Be skeptical of emails and websites with prevention products and tips.
This file photo can be used on medical or health related stories.
This file photo can be used on medical or health related stories.(Source: Gray News (custom credit))
Updated: Jan. 31, 2020 at 6:15 AM CST
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(KFVS) - The recent outbreak of coronavirus has many talking about prevention and treatment.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) officials said consumers should watch out for scammers claiming to have prevention products and tips.

“Scammers know that by using a hook from the day’s top headlines, they’ll be able to catch lots of fish,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB St. Louis president and CEO. “Right now, issues associated with coronavirus and a potential pandemic are of global interest, and that means scammers have a very large pond to go phishing in.”

If you receive an unsolicited message that asks for personal information or money; BBB officials said it is often a scam that could result in identity theft.

BBB offers advice to avoid coronavirus-related scams:

  • Avoid opening e-mail from an unknown source. Do not click on links in the body of the e-mail or open any attachments. Delete the e-mail. If you suspect that it is a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker.
  • Disregard online offers for vaccinations against coronavirus because a vaccine does not exist.
  • Make sure the antivirus and anti-malware programs on your computer are up to date and all operating system security patches have been installed. If your computer becomes infected as the result of a spam e-mail about coronavirus, you can report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at

Reports on coronavirus (2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV) in the Wuhan region of China have already sparked social media scams targeting Chinese-Australian citizens, BBB officials said.

Free information on the virus, the outbreak and preventive measures is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

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