28 Jul Be Cautious When Consuming COVID-19 Information
By Amy Lourenco, HR Manager
It certainly seems like the news cycle is COVID 24×7, and that doesn’t even include social media channels! Given how much misinformation is out there, I wanted to share some useful tips from FEMA, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help you sift rumor from fact and protect yourself from coronavirus-related scams.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is the best source for information about COVID-19 prevention, symptoms, and treatment. Your state’s public health department is the best source for data on cases in your area, mask requirements, and testing sites. If you have specific health concerns, contact your physician for recommendations on whether to get tested.
FEMA has set up a website called Coronavirus Rumor Control. They offer three tips designed to help stop the spread of rumors. They are:
- Find trusted sources of information
- Share information from trusted sources
- Discourage others from sharing information from unverified sources.
On the website, they share rumors that are currently circulating and offer official answers. Another site that can be useful for checking whether something is true is snopes.com.
From fraudulent antibody testing schemes to healthcare and IRS-related fraud, criminals are using email, phone, and in-person methods to trick people. Here is a list of types of scams. Other behavior that the Department of Justice is tracking includes price gouging and hoarding and keeping kids safe online. On their Coronavirus Response website, you will find 800 numbers and links to forms for reporting any fraud you see.
“From phishing to whaling, we are very familiar with the techniques adversaries use to trick us until opening emails or clicking on links,” commented Dan Chandler, Criterion’s CISO. “We need to be similarly cautious about how we consume information in our private lives as we seek to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe in these uncertain times.”
The FTC has an interesting article on how to tell the difference between a real contact tracer and a scammer. They also give a variety of tips on avoiding coronavirus scams, including:
- Don’t to respond to texts, emails or calls about checks from the government
- Ignore offers for vaccinations (since none has been developed yet) and home test kits
- Be wary of ads for test kits
- Hang up on robocalls
The bottom line? Be wary, check your sources, and when in doubt, verify.