Consumer Alert: Beware of free COVID-19 money offers on social media

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HONOLULU (KHON2) – As the Coronavirus crisis continues, scammers are still using the pandemic to steal personal information from consumers.

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The Better Business Bureau has a warning about a scam circulating on social media.

The BBB says scammers will send a message through Facebook or WhatsApp offering free COVID-19 money. However, the message seems to be from big name businesses like Whole Foods and Target to name a few.

“Of course, you might think, well that makes sense that they would want to help out the consumer, but they’re not real,” said Roseann Freitas, the Better Business Bureau Hawaii Marketplace Manager. “All it is, is you click on the link, then they can download malware onto your computer. Then they’re going to want information, all of your personal data, your name and address.”

The BBB says these messages can also come from your friends accounts when their profiles have been hacked.

“Ask them, did you send me this link? You want to do two things, you want to ask them if they sent you the link and then if they didn’t, you need to let them know their account has been hacked and that they need to change that password.”

Consumers who received these types of messages should check the company’s website to see if the offer is legitimate. Also, delete the message on the computer or device as soon as possible.

“Go into your computer and just do a security scan. Make sure that there’s no malware. A lot of times you have firewalls and that really does help protect you, but they also have the ability to scan. So go ahead and scan the device and make sure there’s nothing wrong with it.”

For more information on the free COVID-19 money scam and how to avoid falling victim to these schemes, click here.

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