CHICAGO (CBS) — As more confirmed cases of coronavirus are reported, so are number of scams people are being exposed to by phone, email and suspicious websites.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said his office is cautioning residents about items being peddled as “cures” for the coronavirus. Things including chlorine dioxide, hydroxycholroquine, essential oils, silver, elderberry and garlic are advertised as “cures” for COVID-19.
He said residents shouldn’t be any product promoted online, social media channels or through email that’s being labled as a coronavirus cure.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there is currently no known treatment for COVID-19. People should be aware that any email or website offering a ‘cure’ is a scam that should be avoided,” Raoul said. “I encourage Illinois residents to delete any email offer, and do not pay for any alleged COVID-19 “cure” or “treatment.”
He added that people should look to the CDC as well as the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the World Health Organization for guidelines.
Raoul said any COVID-19 scams should be reported to the Attorney General’s office. He said that people should exercise “extreme caution” when donating to charity connected to the coronavirus. His office has these tips to avoid being a victim of a COVID-19 scam.
- Do not donate if the solicitor uses high-pressure tactics, asks for payment in cash or insists on sending someone to pick up your donation. These are all hallmarks of a scam.
- If you receive an email or text message asking for a donation, confirm that the request is from the charity, and not an imposter, by contacting the charity or visiting its website.
- Be cautious of “look-alike” websites. These fraudulent websites will often ask for personal financial information and may download harmful malware onto your computer.
- Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook or social media are legitimate and have already been scrutinized. Research the charity yourself.
People can report suspicious or questionable solicitations to the Charitable Trust Bureau at 312-814-2595. They can report scams connected to the COVID-19 outbreak by visiting the Attorney General’s website or by calling Raoul’s Consumer Fraud Hotline: 1-800-386-5438 in Chicago, 1-800-243-0618 in Springfield and 1-800-243-0607 in Carbondale.