Fake products, misleading posts and identity theft; Michigan officials warning of coronavirus scam
LANSING, Mich. - Michigan's Attorney General and Department of Health and Human Services is warning residents to watch for scams related to the coronavirus disease.
The scams include websites selling fake products, fabricated emails, texts and social media posts intended to steal money and personal information away from people.
"While the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 is real, there have been no confirmed cases in Michigan," said Attorney General Dana Nessel in a release. "Do NOT 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 human coronavirus is shown in a file image made from a transmission electron microscopy view. (Photo by Cavallini James/BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
The emails and social media posts promote awareness and prevention tips to unsuspecting residents. They also contain fake information about cases in neighborhoods in those resident's neighborhoods. Some of the posts ask for donations to victims and provide unproven treatment and phony advice. Others may contain damaging attachments.
RELATED: Coronavirus likely to spread in U.S., become a global pandemic, CDC says
The coronavirus, formally dubbed COVID-19, has spooked global health experts. As of Monday, the disease had been spotted in 29 different countries and infected more than 80,000 people. Almost 3,000 people have also died. The rising number of cases has also prompted the Centers for Disease and Control to ask citizens to prep for the worst.
"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 in a news release. "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."