Support Local Journalism


Your contribution is appreciated.

Thank you for all of your comments, ideas, photos and support!

By: Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service – MT

HELENA, Mont. — Fears about the new coronavirus are creating opportunities for scammers, fraud experts warn.

AARP Montana State President Alex Ward says fraudsters play on fear and other emotions to steal money.

He says it’s important to be suspicious of anyone asking for money right now, noting it will be widespread news if a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus is ready.

“They’re going to tell you that there’s this magic cure and that they can get it for you for a few bucks,” he states. “And at this point, the CDC and the World Health Organization both say there are no cures.”

This week, the Federal Trade Commission has targeted seven companies with warning letters. The companies allegedly are selling products they claim can treat or prevent coronavirus infections.

Ward encourages people to check the CDC and WHO websites regularly for the latest news on the virus.

He also says folks can research charities soliciting donations at websites such as or

And he advises people not to click on links in emails that are asking for money. Ward notes that disasters are boom times for scammers.

“Whenever there’s a disaster of any kind, for the first week, it’s usually cons that collect more money for relief than anybody else, because they just have to change their pitch,” he points out.

Ward says anyone who suspects fraudulent activity can report it to the Federal Trade Commission website.

AARP also has a Fraud Watch Network that takes complaints and tracks the latest scam activity.

Sign up for our newsletter

Join our email list! Email subscribers may receive subscriber-only discounts, news, and tips. We send out a weekly email! Thank you!

Select list(s) to subscribe to

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: The Southern Maryland Chronicle, 1234 Three Notch Road, Mechanicsivlle , MD, 20659, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact