As the entire world continues to be affected by the coronavirus, we’ve seen all sorts of heartwarming stories of neighbors helping one another that has made us feel hopeful. But sadly, there are still people who are taking advantage of the virus—as well as people’s fear and anxiety—to scam others.
In mid-March 2020, scammers were reportedly going door to door in several townships in northern and central New Jersey, pretending to be members of the CDC. According to the Manchester Township Police, the scammers were claiming to be conducting “surveillance” regarding the coronavirus and asking residents for information about how home residents were handling the virus. Presumably, the purpose of this was to get people to share personal information or even “donate” money.
The news of this scam began spreading via social media as residents posted about it. Because of the nature of social media, these reports were unconfirmed, and both the Moorestown and Piscataway police departments said that they received no official reports or calls about the scam. But they were seeing enough posts about the same type of scam to merit a warning. In addition, the confusing and uncertain nature of social media reports made people that much more afraid.
So several New Jersey police departments, including Manchester, Moorestown, Piscataway, Livingston, Franklin, and Long Branch, made their own social media posts telling residents not to fall for this scam.
Residents: With all the info being shared about COVID-19, beware of scams.
⚠️ The CDC is NOT deploying personnel to make door-to-door visits. If approached by someone claiming to be from the CDC at your residence, do not allow entry or provide any info, & call 9-1-1. (1/1)
— Livingston NJ (@Livingston_NJ) March 13, 2020
Bottom line? No matter where you live, don’t answer the door for someone claiming they’re from the CDC (or the WHO, or any other well-known health organization). “The CDC is not deploying teams of people to go door to door to conduct surveillance,” the Moorestown Police Department announced. “People should be warned to not let them in their homes or to speak with them. They are imposters.” Needless to say, the CDC is urging people to avoid close contact with one another, so they certainly won’t be walking up to people’s houses.
Sadly, going door to door isn’t the only way people are taking advantage of the pandemic. People are also masquerading as health and charity organizations online. Here’s how scammers can use the coronavirus to steal your information.