By Jim Berry

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – “If you are receiving unsolicited not engage.”

Those words of warning come from sergeant Joshua Garfinckel of the economic fraud unit of the Hialeah Police Department.

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Garfinckel says that South Floridians should stay safe and stay smart during the coronavirus pandemic by being on the lookout for coronavirus scammers.

One popular scam involves those upcoming stimulus checks, in which con artists ask you to verify info that the federal government already knows.

“They’re asking for you to verify your social security number or bank information. When you do that, you give them access to your personal information in that way.”

Another issue is price gouging on items in heavy demand like hand sanitizers and gloves.

“It’s very prevalent for people to approach you with goods they may selling out of the trunk of their car. They know the stores are low on supplies, so they offer their products to try to sell you.”

Miami police say that’s exactly what was happening at a Publix on Southwest 27th Avenue.

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Police arrested 57-year-old Lazaro Lazano. He is accused of selling face masks and gloves in the store parking lot.

The asking price for the gloves was $40 a box.

Others might be tempted to buy bootleg supplies like hand sanitizer.

Garfinckel says that’s not wise either.

“There’s no way to know what you are really getting. It may not actually be what you think you are buying. In that case, you might be doing more harm than good.”

The most sinister fraud scheme could come in emails purporting to have important corona-virus updates or information.

“That might actually be malware which could infect your computer. It might get embedded as ransomware where you have to pay scammers a ransom to get rid of it..or it could become spyware which allows them to gain access to your passwords and other personal data without you even knowing it.”

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Jim Berry