Watch out for emails claiming to be from the CDC saying they have information about the coronavirus. (UBS)

What are a few of the most common scams people should look out for?

According to the FTC, scammers are building websites to sell fake products and sending emails, texts, and sharing social media posts to steal information. Emails and social posts to be wary of are promoting awareness and prevention tips or fake information about coronavirus cases in your neighborhood. They might ask you to donate to victims or offer advice on unproven treatments.

Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reporting that scammers are emailing, texting, and making phone calls requesting personal and banking information under the guise that they can help people get their government relief checks faster. It's important to remember that the IRS would never do this.

What are other scams people should look out for?

Online sellers will claim they have in-demand products, such as cleaning, household, or health and medical supplies. You can place an order, but you'll never get a shipment. It's important to check out any seller by doing an online search for the person or company’s name, phone number, and email address plus words like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” If everything checks out, pay by credit card and keep a record of your transaction. If you’re concerned about the pricing of products in your area, contact your state consumer protection officials.

When a major health event—like the Coronavirus—happens, you might look for ways to help your community. Scammers use the same events to take advantage of your generosity. Some use names that sound like the names of real charities. This is one reason it pays to do research before giving.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions, including those on social media claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure the coronavirus and that the stocks of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know . They could download a virus onto your computer or device.
  • Watch out for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) websites.
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the Coronavirus, ask yourself: If there’s been a medical breakthrough , would I be hearing about it for the first time through an ad or sales pitch?
  • Be alert to “investment opportunities.”

What should parents who are home with their children be thinking about?

Parents should be more vigilant than ever by finding out which sites and games their children are using. They should explain to their kids how important it is to not share any personal information online, such as home addresses or phone numbers, and what the implications would be.

Segriff says, "To stay safe, be vigilant and alert. Everyone needs to make good cybersecurity practices a way of life."

Listen to the podcast Cyber protection during COVID-19 7 April 2020