Coronavirus outbreak sparks variety of scam alerts – how not to get fooled

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Scammers have always tried to capitalize on disasters and the coronavirus outbreak is no different.

The Attorney General’s office, Better Business Bureau and more have issued a variety of fraud alerts.

The AG claims cyber scams involving fraudulent emails and websites have already been reported to their office, all with one purpose.

“They’re trying to get information out of you. They’re trying to con you to get your money. It’s cheap and easy for them so there will be lots of those out there,” said Tim Maniscalo with the BBB.

With congress looking at putting money back in people’s wallets as part of a stimulus, some scammers are sending emails or making calls requesting personal banking information in order to receive those checks.

“People are getting calls saying you qualified for this government check, give us your personal info. We want to make sure you get paid. That is not how the government will distribute those,” said Maniscalo.

Sales involving pills and medicines promising to cure the virus have also emerged online, but those miracles drugs simply don’t work.

“Once again all of those are scams to get money out of you. There is no recommended cure right now,” said Maniscalo.

IPL also put out a warning about customers being contacted by scammers claiming their services would be disconnected without payment.

“Don’t be conned by those types of things. Those people are trying to make you feel threatened immediately. Don’t fall for that,” said Maniscalo.

Officially, the power company and many other utilities have suspended disconnection services for the next several weeks.

Maniscalo offers a word of warning for everyone in the uncertain times.

“Don’t let your emotions rule what you do. We’re very fearful. That’s what scammers prey on,” said Maniscalo.

Anyone who feels they’ve been scammed is encouraged to file a police report and contact the Attorney General’s office.

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