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FBI has stopped hundreds of coronavirus-related online scams

The bureau has reviewed more than 3,600 complaints related to COVID-19 ploys that tout fake vaccines, cures and charity drives, among other things.

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Coronavirus-related scams have already cost American consumers more than $12 million, says the FTC.

Angela Lang/CNET

The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center has worked with law enforcement and private sector companies to take down hundreds of online domains used to run scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As of Tuesday, the center had reviewed more than 3,600 complaints related to online coronavirus scams, many involving websites advertising fake vaccines and cures, operating fraudulent charity drives or delivering malware, according to a release from the Department of Justice. These websites often had domain names containing the words "covid19" or "coronavirus," and they sometimes pretended to be run by or affiliated with public health organizations, the release said.

Read more: How to spot and avoid coronavirus stimulus scams

A few websites the FBI took down included some pretending to collect donations to the Red Cross for COVID-19 relief efforts, and some that spoofed government programs to trick people into entering banking details and other personal information. 

Coronavirus-related scams have already cost American consumers more than $12 million, the Federal Trade Commission reported earlier this month.

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Watch this: Here's how scammers are using the coronavirus to cash in