State Attorney General Chris Carr is urging Georgians to be wary of the rapid growth of scammers looking to capitalize on the COVID-19 pandemic.
People are being scammed out of their money through fraudulent websites, texts and emails that are used to steal personal or financial information or install dangerous malware on various communications devices.
“Scammers are pursuing different angles related to the coronavirus pandemic to commit identity theft, create chaos and steal people’s money,” Carr said Wednesday, April 8. “People should be very wary of messages containing links or requests for their personal or financial information.”
In recent weeks, the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division has been flooded with complaints about fraudulent text messages. These texts warn the recipient that they’ve come into contact with someone who either tested positive or COVID-19 or who is showing symptoms of having contracted the virus. The recipient is also provided a link to a website that asks them for their phone number.
As of last week, there had been more than 110,000 suspicious coronavirus-related domains registered, according to the attorney general’s office.
Victims have also reported receiving emails from scam artists posing as hospitals warning them that they may have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. However, these emails contain an attachment that installs malware on the recipient’s device when downloaded.
Additionally, Carr warned Georgians about emails, text messages and robocalls that appear to come from the U.S. Treasury about COVID-19 stimulus money, as these may actually be coming from scam artists impersonating government officials. There have been reports of consumers being told they should click on a link or go to a website to receive stimulus money and then being directed to input their personal and financial information.
The Consumer Protection Division urges consumers to not click on links or visit websites that come from unsolicited texts, emails or phone calls.