Scammers claiming local coronavirus cases are trying to steal personal information

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Okanogan County Public Health officials are trying to stop rumors that a case of novel coronavirus has been diagnosed in the county.

The rumors were started through one of several phishing scams that has popped up in communities throughout the nation in the wake of the deadly virus outbreak.

The idea behind the scam is to try to get personal information.

Potential victims receive an email or call from someone claiming to be with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying that the virus has spread to their area.

The targeted person is then asked to enter their email passwords in order to read more information. Or, users are directed to a fake Microsoft Outlook portal that harvests credentials.

The World Health Organization also says its name is being used by scammers.

About 2,000 people have died after contracting the coronavirus, all but eight in China.

There have been 15 people in the United States diagnosed with the virus, with one Washington state case in Snohomish County.

“During outbreaks like novel coronavirus, rumors often spread faster than the actual illness,” Okanogan County Health said on its Facebook page.