Scammers, spammers, and spreaders of fake news have leaped on the coronavirus crisis, proliferating dodgy text messages and emails, hoax posts and videos, and other misinformation to flood inboxes and social media, ‘As well as messages from scammers and well-meaning but ill-informed individuals, certain nations have been accused of generating sophisticated misinformation. A report from the Financial Times suggested a series of text messages spread throughout the US purporting to be from “a friend of a friend in the FBI” or a “brother in law in the military” were probably sent by operatives in Russia and China looking to cause chaos and confusion.
Such messages, some suggesting the UK government will completely lock down the country, maybe driving panic buying and stockpiling. Other versions of the messages suggest cures or preventative measures, such as drinking water constantly or gargling with saltwater, whether this advice comes from Russian spies or from a well-meaning friend, the information is false and won't prevent infection, the only measures to avoid the coronavirus are social distancing and regular handwashing.
Other posts are a more obvious con, selling cures and treatments for COVID-19 or suggesting products that insure against infection, such as vitamins and teas - none of which will have any positive effect against the virus, such ads are already being targeted by the authorities and social networks.