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The Danger Of Consumer Scams And Phishing Attacks Amid COVID-19




Foreign student Amro, attending the French International Lycée in Riyadh, studies at home on March 23, 2020 as schools in Saudi Arabia are closed amidst the corona virus COVID-19 pandemic.
Foreign student Amro, attending the French International Lycée in Riyadh, studies at home on March 23, 2020 as schools in Saudi Arabia are closed amidst the corona virus COVID-19 pandemic.
FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images

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There’s always a risk of consumer scams, suspicious emails and phishing attempts, but the coronavirus pandemic means people are even more vulnerable to these types of attacks.

This is a time of heightened anxiety and distraction, which can mean folks are more likely to fall into a consumer scam or click on the malicious email link. Phishing scams, for example, have exploded over the last week in relation to COVID-19. According to experts, phishing can be particularly dangerous during this time because people are working from home and using unfamiliar technology processes. The FDA has warned against fake at-home coronavirus testing kits as well, the Wall Street Journal reports. Last week, federal authorities at LAX intercepted a package from the UK containing fake testing kits. And this past weekend, a man was arrested in the UK for manufacturing and possessing what authorities believe are fake test kits. It's not clear if the two cases are connected. And on top of that, consumers are up against price gouging and shortages too. The Better Business Bureau has a handy scam tracker. The group also offers tips to help you avoid various scams. Today on AirTalk, Larry chats with California’s attorney general and other experts about scamming amid the pandemic. Do you have questions? Join the conversation by calling 866-893-5722.

You can report a consumer scam to the state attorney general's office here: OAG.CA.GOV/Report 

You can report scams to the city here: https://www.lacityattorney.org/covid19 or call 213-978-8070

With files from LAist. Read the full story from Elina Shatkin here.

Guests:

Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General; he tweets @XavierBecerra

Mike Feuer, city attorney of Los Angeles; he tweets @CityAttorneyLA

Laura Mosqueda, M.D., dean of USC’s Keck School of Medicine and professor of family medicine and geriatrics; she’s also the director of USC’s National Center on Elder Abuse; she tweets @MosquedaMD

Eric Howes, principal lab researcher for KnowBe4, a cybersecurity company focused on phishing prevention