Authorities are warning members of the public to beware of scams related to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a Facebook post, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department urged residents to not fall for scams such as "antivirus oils, creams, toothpaste, vaccines, free iPhones, money, and more. It's a scam. Check with authoritative sources to determine the legitimacy of a claim or solicitation."
In addition, the Sheriff's Department said to watch out for scammers who may visit residents' houses.
"No healthcare provider, law enforcement or any government agency is going door-to-door testing people for the COVID-19 virus," the Sheriff's Department said on Facebook. "If you see anyone offering such a service, don’t fall for it. Report the activity to @SBCSDDispatch."
----- UNITED STATES Attorney Nick Hanna sounded a similar warning on the U.S. Department of Justice Central District of California website.
“Our primary goal is to maintain safety and security across the seven counties we serve,” Hanna said. “Even as we come together as a nation to deal with the threat of COVID-19, there are individuals among us and across the globe who are attempting to use this crisis as an opportunity to exploit our fears and take advantage of our generosity.”
Members of the public are urged to report suspected fraud schemes related to the coronavirus and COVID-19 by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or sending complaints to the NCDF e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hanna said his office will prioritize the investigation and prosecution of coronavirus fraud schemes, including the online sale of bogus COVID-19 cures, the solicitation of donations for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations, and the distribution of ransomware from malicious websites and apps that promise to share coronavirus-related information.
----- CALIFORNIA Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a consumer alert about deceptive advertising related to coronavirus, reminding all Californians to be mindful of any products or services that falsely claim to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, nor is there a medicine that treats or cures coronavirus.
“Do not be hustled by opportunistic tricksters claiming to have a miracle cure. There is not a cure for COVID-19,” said Becerra. “Californians should take preventative measures to stop further spread of coronavirus, such as washing their hands, refraining from touching their face, avoiding large groups, and staying at home as much as possible. I encourage anyone who has been the victim of a snake oil scam or who otherwise has information about products that are falsely touted as coronavirus treatments, tests, or cures to immediately file a complaint through my office’s website at http://oag.ca.gov/report.”