Skip to Content
© Mustsansar Syed |
Security & privacy

Fake COVID-19 alert threatens a fee for leaving your house

Are you stir-crazy yet? If so, we get it — nearly six months of lockdowns can make anyone frustrated. And even though plenty of essential businesses are still open (and more nonessential ones re-opening every day), it can be tiring to find that your favorite hangouts like sports bars and the mall are closed after all this time.

But no matter how hard we try, we can’t rely on delivery for everything. Sometimes, the items we want just aren’t available on Amazon. But as long as you have a mask on your face, most businesses will let you in without any issue. Tap or click here to see the best face masks ranked.

Despite lockdown restrictions, state and local authorities have been relatively lax about enforcing mandates like stay-at-home orders and mask-wearing. But if you receive a message out of the blue that says you’ve been fined by the government for leaving your home, don’t panic. It’s a scam — and a really flimsy one at that. Here’s why.

Is Big Brother really watching you leave your house?

People across the country have reported receiving a strange email claiming to come from the federal government. The message will say that you have been “recorded” leaving your home and that you have incurred financial penalties for breaking quarantine rules.

Here’s a quick snippet of what the message looks like from The Verge, which also randomly received the same warning with the subject line CORONAVIRUS ALERT:

If you take the bait and click on the link to pay your fine, you’ll end up on a scam website that will not only take your payment but record your card information.

If you couldn’t tell, this message is pure nonsense. The government doesn’t have security cameras outside your home that could catch you leaving — and even then, any enforcement of lockdown rules would be left to the states themselves.

Related: Tap or click here to see why this COVID-19 vaccine alert is a scam.

Want to spot the scam? Just hover your mouse over the link. You’ll find that it doesn’t even lead to the website the text shows. Instead, it goes to We don’t recommend visiting there if you want to protect your data.

If you’re looking for real information on testing, statewide restrictions for travel and more, just visit the CDC’s official COVID-19 homepage for up-to-date news and data.

I fell for the scam! What are my options?

If you’ve been a victim of a COVID-19 scam like this one, here’s how to report it:

Because the website that takes your “payment” has all the signs and symptoms of a phishing website, here are some additional steps you can take to protect yourself:

It’s a shame that scammers are preying on fear and disruption to our way of life in order to make money. It just goes to show that malicious actors are paying attention to the news — and that they’re willing to say anything if it means making a quick buck off someone’s misery. Know the facts behind COVID-19 and you’ll be much safer from harm.

Tap or click here to see where all these COVID-19 scams are coming from.

Komando Community background

Join the Komando Community

Get even more know-how in the Komando Community! Here, you can enjoy The Kim Komando Show on your schedule, read Kim's eBooks for free, ask your tech questions in the Forum — and so much more.

Try it for 30 days