Scammers taking advantage of COVID-19 pandemic

Local News

Scammers are continuing to use the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money and personal information. The FBI is also warning parents that online predators can use this to target children.

The FBI has already had hundreds of complaints about scammers. Now that school is out, more kids will be online making themselves targets for predators.

Local FBI agents tell us they have seen scams across the county and state. Fake e-mails from the CDC claiming cures and testing kits are among the more popular scams. There are also e-mails requesting your personal or financial information. A simple rule is ‘If you don’t recognize the sender, don’t click it.’

“For the most accurate information, please go directly to the actual website or reputable news sites and type in the actual URLs yourself.” said Mark Beneski, FBI Erie Office.

Children are also at risk.

“We are also concerned with protecting children at this time with the closing of schools, a lot more kids are spending a lot more time online.” Beneski said. He says that parents should talk to their kids about Internet safety regardless of age.

“Make sure you are reviewing and approving games and all types of apps that they are downloading on their phones or other devices. Make sure that their privacy settings are set at the strictest possible levels.” Beneski said.

The FBI is also anticipating scams involving the stimulus bill being passed.

“There is definitely going to be scams regarding ‘Hey, click here, put your information in to receive your stimulus check.’ There is no government organization that is going to be pushing out any email talking about stimulus checks.” Beneski said.

He says that scammers often take advantage of any crisis. Beneski says that so far, here have been no cases of COVID-19 related scamming reported in Erie County.

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Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

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