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Community Safety and COVID-19

Unfortunately, every disaster or crisis bring out criminals looking to exploit the situation for their personal gain. COVID-19 is no exception. There are already malicious websites and other scams out there seeking to use the situation to infect people’s electronics and steal their money.

In one recent example, a website was set up that purported to be an application that tracked worldwide cases of COVID-19. Entering the website exposed users to a computer virus that then stole personal information from the victim’s computer. There are certainly more such sites and apps lurking yet undiscovered out there. Your best protection is to only seek information from reputable sources like the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, MN Department of Health, or Benton County Public Health.

People also need to be aware of phishing attacks and scams that prey on the fears surrounding COVID-19 by promising new tests, treatments, or ways to avoid infection. Many public health officials worldwide are working on tests, treatments, and the best strategies to keep people healthy. Real treatments and strategies will be distributed quickly by public health organizations and established media organizations.

To stay safe, people should automatically be skeptical of any claims made by people and organizations not associated with official public health agencies. People should be especially wary of those looking to sell you tests, treatments, or cures. As a whole, we’ve become pretty skilled at seeing through phishing attempts and scams. there is no reason to panic and also no reason to let fear lead you into becoming a victim.