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FTC warns beware of coronavirus scams

Scammers are now preying on fears surrounding the coronavirus to target your money.

MINNEAPOLIS — Cyber scams are big business. It's predicted scammers could make it a $6 trillion industry by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures official annual cybercrime report.  

"Its a business just like many businesses that are legitimate," said Professor Michael Johnson, Director of Graduate Studies in Security Technologies at the Technical Leadership Institute. 

Scammers are now preying on fears surrounding the coronavirus to target your money.

"If it's something bad that's happened somewhere in the world some scammer somewhere is going to use it to try and get money or data," said Johnson. 

According to the Federal Trade Commission, scammers are using websites to sell bogus products, to gain access to your personal information.

"One of the biggest ones is trying to get you to click through to purchase a vaccination or to purchase a coronavirus protection kit," said Johnson. 

Johnson says unless a credible organization like the Centers for Disease Control or he World Health Organization has a vaccination listed on their website, don't buy into it.

"If you got an email in Minnesota that said the Minnesota Department of Health is launching a new website to track coronavirus infections in neighborhoods, how many people would probably click that link because they're concerned about their families," said Johnson. 

Cyber security experts say you should also be weary of investment opportunities centered around buying into a company's new products, like new face masks. 

"Always check investments no matter whether its coronavirus related or any claim of investments no matter what it is check the FTC's website, validate the claims, at least ownership of the company," Johnson. 

When it comes to donating to the cause don't get sucked into handing over your money to criminals. 

"Anytime anyone's asking you for funds for any disaster or any cause try to find a legitimate source that you trust, the red cross, whoever it might be and go there to give your funds," said Johnson. 

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