FBI helping people fight against COVID-19 scams, potential internet crimes against children

Reporter: Rich Kolko
Published: Updated:
FBI Supervisory Special Agent Davis Christy of the FBI’s Fort Myers’ office. (WINK News)

COVID-19 has many of us on edge. How can we stay safe, healthy and avoid spreading the virus?

The FBI and Justice Department have new warnings for us on how to recognize and fight off people hoping to take advantage of this crisis.

The beaches are empty and so are the malls. Many of you are staying at home hoping to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, that could also make you a target for scammers.

“These people get a lot of reps at trying to talk people into giving out their information or money and have gotten very good at it. They know how to prey on your fears,” said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Davis Christy of the FBI’s Fort Myers’ office.

One of the new tactics ripoff artists are using is pitching coronavirus test kits. Christy’s advice on this is simple: “If you get a call it says there’s a test kit for sale I would advise you to just hang up.”

The “romance scam” is also alive and well, now targeting people at home with a lot of time on their hands. Even with the ongoing crisis, the FBI is on the job investigating this kind of fraud.

“We have several ongoing investigations that are looking into complex, white-collar crime and fraudulent scams that have targeted the community here in Southwest Florida and nationally,” Christy said.

One thing we can’t say enough: Never send gift cards, wire money or open an email attachment from someone you don’t know.

“If it’s too good to be true, it is likely too good to be true,” Christy said.

The scams going around now are just new twists on old scams. Their goal is to get you to give up your personal information, which means they get your money.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.