The rumor circulating on family text group chats goes something like this: people pretending to be employees with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are knocking on doors, wearing white lab coats, telling residents in Broward County that they’re testing for COVID-19.
Then, the messages say, they rob you.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office warned Thursday the CDC is not testing anyone for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, after some residents in Parkland reported on social platforms they had spotted the federal impersonators.
“During these times, scammers are seeking opportunities to take advantage of consumers,” BSO spokesperson Robyn Hankerson said.
Hankerson said other types of scams are proliferating in the pandemic environment, like widespread texts and websites trying to steal personal information by inciting panic.
In one such prominent fake viral hoax, a message circulating on social media warned people of a looming national lockdown that would dispatch the National Guard to force businesses to close and residents to remain under quarantine for two weeks. The National Guard addressed the rumor last Sunday and said it was “FAKE.”
BSO also advised citizens to vet companies that claim to be fundraising for charities but are actually scammers in disguise, and to beware of sharing personal information.
Anyone with information on this or other unusual experiences is asked to call BSO’s non-emergency line at 954-764-4357.