‘Unfortunately, it’s something we expect:’ BBB, Department of Justice warn of coronavirus scams

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MILWAUKEE -- At a time when many people are self-isolating, a new group of people is trying hard to get into your life -- spinning lies to get your personal information.

If social isolation wasn't enough, there's a new reason to be on alert that is now targeting your phone and email.

Attorney General Josh Kaul

"Unfortunately, it's something we expect to see in these emergency situations," said Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul. "People should be especially careful about giving out their personal information."

Like many, Kaul is working from home -- and speaking about scammers who find opportunities in times of crisis. The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) is aware of phishing emails claiming to be from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization.

The DOJ is also warning of fraudulent charities and GoFundMe fundraiser pages and scammers claiming to have a vaccine or treatment for the coronavirus.

"There is no approved vaccine or cure for COVID-19 right now," Kaul said.

Jim Temmer with the Better Business Bureau

Jim Temmer, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin (BBB), says, when there is a vaccine available, it will be promoted through public health channels. The BBB is already getting reports of scammers trying to sell virus-resistant masks or claiming they're fundraising for scientists researching a cure.

Other scammers claim that they're from the CDC and that you've been exposed to the virus, but they need to confirm personal information before sharing more details.

"With the government now saying they're going to give people money, I'm sure there will scammers out there pretending to be from the government and saying 'all I need is your checking account number, and we'll make sure that money gets to you,'" Temmer said.

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