Better Business Bureau offers tips to avoid con artists using coronavirus to prey on victims

Posted: Updated:

There’s a warning for families across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut: Con artists are starting to leverage the coronavirus pandemic to go after people’s money and personal information.

Better Business Bureau regional director Brian Rauer warned News 12 via Zoom that the con artists are out in full force across the tri-state area looking to profit off of panicked consumers. In one scam, a person paid $200 for face masks and received nothing in return. 

MORE:  Got a question or concern  for Turn To Tara?  Email her at

Using the BBB’s scam tracker, News 12 also got wind of another trap - fraudsters dialing up and pretending to be representatives of the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"They are promising testing, new treatment plans, anything they can to entice you,” says Rauer, “The sole goal is to get you to log on to something, share your information.”

There are even phony coronavirus tracking sites, immunity pills and testing kits being sold on websites like Craigslist.

One similar phishing email attacked 2,500 computers on Monday alone.  

“They are getting you to download malware on your computer to access your personal information,” says Rauer.

Rauer is offering tips to avoid getting scammed:

Make sure not to click on links or attachments from people who you don’t recognize, especially ones with spelling errors.

Be wary of texts or emails promising airline refunds, financial relief or cures that ask to verify personal information

Be mindful that there are fake charities out there, promising relief for sick emergency responders.

CORONAVIRUS TRACKER - Cases in the tri-state area

MORE: LIVE BLOG - Coronavirus updates from the tri-state area and beyond 

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus stories from News 12 

 GET INFORMATION: Coronavirus details from the CDC

CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION: What you can do to protect yourself

GET THE FACTS: What you need to know about coronavirus

BY THE NUMBERS: The latest statistics from the CDC

Your Coronavirus Photos


sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."