FBI warns of COVID-19 charity frauds

Coronavirus New Mexico

A man types on a computer keyboard in this photo illustration. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The FBI is warning New Mexicans about scammers that are using the COVID-19 pandemic as a means to access your funds and personal information. Nationwide, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have received reports of scammers requesting donations for individuals, groups, and areas that have been affected by COVID-19.

The FBI is warning residents to do research before clicking on links claiming to provide information on the virus, donating to a charity online or through social media, contributing to a crowdfunding campaign, purchasing products online, or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits.

Charity scams are those in which a thief poses as a real charity or uses the name of a real charity in order to get money. Law enforcement warns the public about giving funds to any charity calling you for donations and to be cautious if you get a call about a donation pledge that you don’t remember making as it could be a scam.

The FBI offers the following tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of a charity fraud:

  • Do research when it comes to donations, whether its through crowdfunding websites or charities
  • Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money
  • Do not let anyone rush you into making a donation
  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know as they could be attempts to download viruses onto your computer or cell phone

If you think you are a victim of a scam or an attempted fraud involving COVID-19, you can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or through the NCDF Web Complaint Form.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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