The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office warned citizens on Monday to be aware of a number of fraudulent scams from unscrupulous criminals attempting to “cash-in” on the COVID-19 conditions.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office warned citizens on Monday to be aware of a number of fraudulent scams from unscrupulous criminals attempting to “cash-in” on the COVID-19 conditions.

The scams typically involve phone calls, text messages, faxes, or computer emails that solicit funds or sensitive information, such as names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, bank account information, and/or credit card numbers, said Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey.

Some of these contacts reportedly solicit information so the recipient can receive their stimulus check(s) from the government, which is a false claim, since government agencies typically will not contact you directly via phone or email to solicit personal information, Lopey explained. Other messages purport to be from county or state health officials claiming the recipient has been contaminated with the coronavirus, Lopey added.

“A related scam solicits a credit card number to obtain shipment of medication or test kits or protective equipment. Often, clicking on a link sent via a computer results in the introduction of a malware virus that could expose your personal information and messaging systems to disclosure criminals could exploit for personal gain,” said Lopey. “Several phishing scams have been noted online related to the pandemic in recent days. Some solicitors seeking funds and personal information are posing as representatives of the World Health Organization or other federal, state, or local health-related agencies.”

Businesses have also fallen victim to scams through the solicitation of coronavirus-themed charities, Lopey said.

“We urge all citizens to realize health care emergencies bring out the best and sometimes the very worse in people,” Lopey said. “Please do not provide money, credit card information, bank account numbers, or any other personal information to anyone purporting to be representing governmental agencies that are distributing COVID-19-related stimulus, unemployment, or other benefits-related entitlements. Avoid other scams related to the solicitation of funds for COVID-19 or pandemic-related supplies, tests, services, or any other purpose. Avoid accessing or opening links sent to you from unfamiliar sources via the internet, phone devices, faxes, or via texts. If in doubt about a charity, ensure you consult the Federal Trade Commission Charity Scams page, but normally, it is better not to provide personal information of any kind to unfamiliar people over the phone or internet.”

Citizens are encouraged to report any attempt to solicit funds or the disclosure of personal information to their local law enforcement agency.

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