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covid-19 (coronavirus)

COVID-19 SCAMS

Unfortunately, during times of crisis scammers will explore new ways to prey upon people’s fears and emotions for financial gain. 


For example, the FBI has identified a new fraud scheme using text messaging and social platforms to reach potential victims. The message uses the promise of money, i.e., “stimulus check” from retailer, Costco Wholesale, and provides a link, containing malware, ransomware or other fraudulent methods to steal identity, financial or other personal information.  


The FBI is warning the public that Costco is NOT texting or using social media platforms to reach the public or its’ customers to provide a “stimulus check,” “freebies,” or a “stimulus package”. These messages containing a malicious link are a SCAM.  


To learn more about these kinds of attacks, click here to see a public service announcement from the FBI. If you believe that you are a victim of a Covid-19 scam, please refer to the list below for guidance.


Victim Services During COVId-19

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CYBER SECURITY TIPS FOR WORKING REMOTELY FROM HOME

Many people have found themselves working from home more often. For many, this is new territory for employees and businesses alike. Listed below are tips that will help keep your home office safe from any cyberattacks during these uncertain times.  


Basic cyber-hygiene

  • Make sure that your devices are up to date with security patches.
  • Use anti-virus software on all devices and keep it updated.
  • Ensure that your WiFi network is encrypted with WPA2 as a minimum, and DO NOT USE public WiFi. 
  • Use strong, unique passphrases on each device and account.
  • Utilize multi-factor authentication (MFA) for online accounts.
  • Don’t click on links in unsolicited email.
  • Don't give your personal information to an unsolicited email, text message, or telephone call.


Telecommuting specific tips

  • Connect to the work network from home through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) so that the communication is encrypted end to end.
  • Research any telework application that you intend to use and ensure that it has robust security   features and requires secure credentials to login and restrict access.
  • Be cautious about remote desktop sharing on telework applications.
  • Utilize Mobile Device Management (MDM) software on mobile devices to ensure that they can be wiped if lost or stolen.
  • Encrypt removable media so that if it is lost or stolen, sensitive data is not exposed (if you work in multiple environments Mac, PC, Linux, ensure that the encryption product works across environments).
  • Be cautious about sharing any sensitive information regarding yourself and family members.



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online shopping Price gouges

The following press release is courtesy of the Attorney General's Office. This information is displayed to provide guidance for businesses and customers as the coronavirus continues to influence daily life. 


California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sent several letters calling on large online marketplaces to intensify their efforts to combat price gouging related to novel coronavirus—or COVID-19—on their platforms. Many platforms are currently, or were until recently, flooded with potentially illegal postings by third-party sellers for products listed at highly inflated prices. 


“Price gouging during a time of national emergency is not only disgraceful, it is illegal,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Large online marketplaces have a responsibility to the public to take immediate and vigorous steps to eliminate predatory behavior, which they know is illegal, from their platforms. The California Department of Justice calls on all online marketplaces to act now and act seriously to eliminate price gouging on their websites. Anyone who has been the victim of price gouging related to COVID-19 should immediately file a complaint through my office’s website."


Attorney General Becerra reminds all businesses that are marketing or selling products to Californians – whether in person or online – that, under Penal Code Section 396, price gouging is illegal in all California communities during a declared state of emergency. California law generally prohibits charging a price that exceeds, by more than 10 percent, the price of an item before a state or local declaration of emergency. This law applies to the prices of certain goods or services when a declared state of emergency results in disruptions of the market, including with respect to food, emergency and medical supplies, and other consumer goods. Exceptions to this prohibition exist if, for example, the price of labor, goods, or materials has increased for the business.


Violators of the price gouging statute are subject to criminal prosecution that can result in a one-year imprisonment in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Violators are also subject to civil enforcement actions including civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation, injunctive relief, and mandatory restitution. The Attorney General and local district attorneys can enforce the statute.


Click here to learn more about what the Attorney General had to say regarding price gouging during Covid-19. 

FILE A COMPLAINT

Click on the button below to file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office regarding price gouges in your area.