LANSING — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) have issued a warning to Michigan residents regarding scams related to the coronavirus disease 2019.
The scams include selling fake products, as well as fabricated emails, texts and social media posts used to steal money and personal information.
These emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips along with phony information about cases in residents’ neighborhoods. They may also ask for donations to victims, provide advice on unproven treatments or contain damaging attachments.
“While the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 is real, there have been no confirmed cases in Michigan,” Nessel said. “Do no fall for these scams. In fact, this is the perfect example of criminals preying on people’s fears. Don’t give a single piece of personal information to anyone reaching out to you regarding coronavirus.”
The Federal Trade Commission also offered tips on avoiding these scammers. First, they advise not to click on links from sources you don’t know. You should also watch for emails from anyone claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or experts saying they have information about the virus. It’s also important to ignore online offers for vaccinations, and to be alert for “investment opportunities,” they said.
“While the current risk of COVID-19 in the United States is low, we are working with our local and federal partners to make sure our public health system is prepared,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS.
“The best way Michiganders can stay healthy is to wash their hands often with soap and water, cover their coughs and sneezes, stay away from people who are sick and stay home if they are not feeling well. For accurate, up-to-date information, visit the CDC’s website or the MDHHS’ webpage.”
Anyone who texts or emails asking for personal or financial information should be treated as potential thieves who may be trying to steal someone’s identity, a press release from Nessel’s office said.
Consumers are encouraged to file consumer complaints online with the Michigan Department of Attorney General or call 877-765-8388.