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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Don't fall for these COVID-19 scams

But if you do, here's what to do next

ATLANTA — As the government tries to slow the spread of coronavirus, they also want to stop COVID-19 scammers.

“It's just a get rich quick scheme,” said Agent Robert Hammer with Homeland Security.

The agency is now teaming up with Georgia’s top state and federal prosecutors to crack down on these criminals who target you online or through email.

“Anytime you're looking at giving your money to somebody, you need to be looking at are there red flags,” Hammer said.

Some schemes include fake cures and medicines that could do more harm than good.

Agent Hammer suggested one example of a fake vaccine. 

“It was nothing more than cotton infused with insecticide,” he said.

And there are even fake test kits.

“There is no at-home test kit approved by the FDA,” he said. 

Scammers are also claiming to have high-demand products like cleaning and medical supplies. But when you place an order, they take your money and run.

“Portraying that they have millions of N95 masks when, in fact, they don't even have those masks,” he said.

Charity scammers are also asking for donations for fake non-profits claiming to help people affected by the coronavirus. 

And some use COVID-19-related apps that actually contain malware to steal your personal information.

If you think you’ve been scammed – send you tips directly to the feds.

“We have a full team of agents that are dedicated to do nothing but triage that information as it comes in,” Agent Hammer said.

He added that agents have created a special mailbox specifically for COVID-19 fraud at Covid19Fraud@dhs.gov.

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