This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab. Credit: NIAID-RML
How we can fight the coronavirus
03:10 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

PSA, folks: People from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are not going door-to-door to conduct coronavirus-related surveillance.

Police departments in New Jersey are warning residents not speak to anyone claiming to be from the CDC or to let them into their homes. The warnings follow social media posts that seem to indicate people are knocking on doors, claiming to be seeking information about the novel coronavirus, police said.

“There have been social media posts regarding individuals going door to door claiming to be from the CDC,” the Moorestown Township Police Department in Burlington County said in a statement.

“The CDC is not deploying teams of people to go door to door to conduct surveillance. People should be warned to not let them in their homes or to speak with them. They are imposters.”

Moorestown police had not gotten any complaints from residents about such scams, Chief Lee Lieber said. County and state health officials had mentioned unconfirmed reports on social media, he said.

“We thought that would be important for our residents to know,” Lieber told CNN.

Authorities warn that if this happens in your community, you should contact law enforcement.

How to avoid coronavirus scams

Potential scammers have been taking advantage of panic surrounding coronavirus outbreaks, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Aside from showing up to your door, scammers could try to impersonate the CDC or other health officials through social media, emails, texts and websites.

Here are some tips from the FTC to help ward off scams:

  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. They could contain electronic viruses that could harm your computer or devices.
  • Watch out for messages claiming to be from the CDC or other experts who say they have information about the novel coronavirus. Verify the sender or email address on any of these messages. For the most up-to-date information on the virus, visit the CDC website and the World Health Organization website.
  • Be suspicious of so-called ‘miracle cures.’ There is no cure for the coronavirus yet, so anyone claiming to have vaccinations or other treatments for the virus should be ignored.
  • Do your research before donating to a charity or purchasing a product. The organization or product may not be legitimate, and it could be a scam to take your money.

CNN’s Leah Asmelash contributed to this report.