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Increase in coronavirus-related scams: What to watch out for

The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan is advising people to be aware of coronavirus-related scams, and is offering consumers tips.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —

As the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a lot of uncertainty. Scammers are aware of that, and try to take advantage. 

The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan said scammers modify existing scams to try and trick people, especially during times like this, and offered the following recommendations.

First, if you get what appears to be a message from the government, especially if it’s related to the coronavirus, be cautious.

When it comes to the coronavirus stimulus package, you’re not going to get an email or text message claiming you have to register to get your check. The government will use information on your tax returns to get you the money. 

The same thing goes for any calls or messages about your social security or medicare, don’t give up any of your personal information, such as social security number or bank information.

The BBB also recommends people be aware of consumer scams, and websites claiming to have in-demand medical supplies.

“Websites claiming they have those N95 masks, these are the masks hospitals don't have enough of, these are the ones the government is clamoring to get, the governor is out talking about,” said Troy Baker with the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan. “We don't have enough in the state of Michigan for medical personnel. And websites are popping up claiming not only to have them in stock, but to have them on sale.“

Also if you see something about at-home testing kits or treatments for coronavirus, understand those things are not on the market, and be skeptical. 

Baker advises people to get their information from a reliable news sources, and places like the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and state medical professionals. 

He also recommends people be cautious of any emails with links, and to check the sender information as well as what website they link to, before clicking on them. 

Baker also said people should do their research, and contact providers directly, using information on existing documents or legitimate sources, not what’s given in a phone call or email. 

People can access the BBB scam tracker website for information about existing scams, or to file a report. 

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