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Extension warns of scams during pandemic

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, so does the number of people trying to take advantage of the situation through scams. To counteract this, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System is trying to educate people on what to look for to avoid scams.

According to a press release, scammers are creating fake websites to sell fake products or put out fake information in communities.

“We all need to be aware of scams,” said Franklin County Extension Director Katernia Cole-Coffey. “We can protect ourselves with protective equipment during COVID-19, but we need to protect ourselves from scams during this pandemic.”

One important tip to remember, Cole-Coffey said, is to never click on links from unfamiliar sources. These links could download a virus.

It is also important watch for imposter emails from agencies claiming to give out information on the coronavirus. The Extension recommends not opening any emails unless they are from an organization to which the recipient is subscribed.

The Extension also warns consumers to be aware of advertisements claiming to provide prevention or treatment for COVID-19.

It is also important to do research about organizations or individuals that ask for donations concerning the virus, especially if the group says it would like a donation in cash, gift card or wire transfer.

It is also good to be aware of scam investment opportunities. This might include groups that claim to have found a way to prevent or cure the disease and ask for an investment in stock.

“Be able to spot scams,” Cole-Coffey said. “Watch and be mindful of emails, promotions, door-to-door scams, phone calls, etcetera. If it seems too good to be true, then it is.”