BBB Warns of COVID Related Scams in Yakima
The Better Business Bureau Yakima Police and Yakima County Sheriff's Office continue to warn consumers about COVID-19 related scams that are costing people thousands in lost dollars. They say the scams are spreading nearly as fast as the virus itself. As of January 12, the Federal Trade Commission "logged more than 324,000 consumer complaints related to COVID-19 and stimulus payments, 69 percent of them involving fraud or identity theft. Victims have reported losing $307 million."
Scammers are using all the tools including phishing emails and texts, fake social media posts, robocalls and imposter schemes. The commission and the BBB warn of a lot of vaccine scams that point to fake websites and email scams that promise easy and early access to vaccines. Yakima Police say the scammers target elderly people in the Yakima Valley who are trustworthy and are pressured into giving up important information during the pandemic.
According to the FTC "the FTC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have sent dozens of warnings to companies selling unapproved products they claim can cure or prevent COVID-19. The products include but are not limited to teas, essential oils, cannabinol, and intravenous vitamin-C therapies all of which medical experts say do not work and could be harmful."
Since the beginning of the pandemic scammers have been busy and BBB officials say it's likely to only increase as more vaccine becomes available. The commission says beware of emails, texts and phone calls supposedly coming from government agencies that ask you to clink on a link or pay a fee to confirm personal information like your Social Security number. A lot of these scams are related to stimulus checks sent out by the government.
Authorities say if you get a call, email or text that asks you to click on a link or give personal or financial information do not respond and contact authorities.