Nessel: Watch out for coronavirus scams

    Ken Coleman

    Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) are warning Michiganders to stay alert and watch for scams related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the coronavirus is a new virus strain that has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia. It has spread throughout China and to 31 other countries and territories, including the United States. So far, 2,462 people have died worldwide. The CDC says there are 53 cases diagnosed in the United States, but no deaths have been reported.

    Dana Nessel | Ken Coleman

    According to the DHHS, as of Tuesday, there have been no positive cases of the coronavirus in Michigan.

    Nessel’s office said coronavirus scams include websites selling fake products, and fabricated emails, texts and social media posts used to swindle people and steal their money and personal information. The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips along with phony information about cases in residents’ neighborhoods. They also may ask for donations to victims, provide advice on unproven treatments or contain damaging attachments.

    Nessel also warns Michiganders to not give out personal information to anyone reaching out to them regarding coronavirus, adding that it’s the perfect example of criminals preying on people’s fears.

    In the release, Nessel also provided tips from the Federal Trade Commission to avoid scams related to the illness. Tips include not clicking on links from sources you don’t know, watching for emails claiming to be from the CDC or experts saying they have information about the virus and ignoring online offers for vaccinations.

    Madeline Ciak
    Madeline Ciak covers the economy, health care and safety net, immigration and politics. She’s a University of Michigan-Flint graduate and previously worked as a digital media manager at NBC25/FOX66 in Flint and a weekend producer at ABC12. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found reading, whipping something up in the Instant Pot, gardening or treasure hunting at thrift stores.