News Flash

Town Press Releases

Posted on: March 19, 2020




As the country enters into a new era with the COVID-19, another door opens for scammers who are willing to take advantage of you and your pocketbook. The scams are rampant with more on the way as people, institutions and governments become more economically disadvantaged.

The easiest vehicle for scammers is through email and the internet, though some are coming through text messages. The distribution method will continue to grow, most likely expanding into social media and other marketing sites. Everyone needs to take a moment and examine all electronic correspondences to verify they are legitimate and appear to be authentic. Take the time to look at the sender’s information and the source. When unsure, don’t respond even if it appears to be someone you think you may know. Choose another avenue to get in touch with those contacting you and don’t respond or open the email you just received. 

Some of the more common scams you may see are as follows:

  1. CDC alerts. Cybercriminals send phishing emails designed to look like they are from the U.S. Center for Disease Control. The email might falsely claim to link to a list of coronavirus cases in your area. “You are immediately advised to go through the cases above for safety hazard,” the text of one phishing email reads.
  1. Health advice emails. Phishers send out emails that offer purported medical advice to help protect you against the coronavirus. The emails might claim to be from medical experts near Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus outbreak began. “This little measure can save you,” the phishing email may say. “Use the link below to download Safety Measures.”
  1. Workplace policy emails. Cybercriminals may target employees’ email or home accounts. The phishing email begins something like this, “All, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Town of Taos is actively taking safety precautions by instituting a Communicable Disease Management Policy.” If you click on the fake company policy, you’ll download malicious software.
  1. Smart phone apps. Last week, a malicious Android app called CovidLock claimed to help users chart the spread of the virus. Instead, it led to a slew of Android phones being locked and held for ransom by hackers.
  1. Social media. Random Facebook groups offering supposed home cures for COVID-19, long Twitter threads from self-appointed health experts and cleverly designed websites -- there are dozens of ways misinformation can lure unsuspecting victims into a position of vulnerability. While it can be hard to sort the solid information from the scam-baiting, here are a couple of ways:
    1. By clicking the "about" section of a Facebook group, you can see whether that group has changed its name multiple times to reflect new national crises -- a sure sign that the group is trawling for an audience rather than promoting reliable news.
    2. Keep an eye on official sources on Twitter, including the accounts of trusted news sites and their news reporters, and avoiding political operatives where possible.
    3. If a site claims to be an official government publication, check the URL to see if it ends in “.gov.”

In general DO NOT click on any link(s) you are unfamiliar with as you don’t know what or where it may take you even if it looks legitimate. Disregard the email and seek an alternate avenue for the information you seek. Obtain COVID-19 information from trusted sights such as:

As always take safeguards to protect yourself and your critical information. It’s a big internet out there and someone wants your hard earned money or personal information. Don’t give them the opportunity to take it from you!


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