Top Department of Defense and Army leaders are taking measures to dispel COVID-19 rumors, misinformation and disinformation.
In a virtual town hall March 24, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley addressed the importance of combatting misinformation, or inaccuracies that stem from error, and protecting against disinformation, or false information spread deliberately.
“Don’t pass along rumors,” said Milley. “Make sure you are talking in terms of facts, making sure you have the right information from the CDC and checking in with your leadership and chain of command.”
To further prevent misinformation and protect service members, families and the public, DoD established a rumor control website, https://www.defense.gov/Explore/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Rumor-Control/.
The site provides the answers to common myths circulating about COVID-19.
The Army Criminal Investigation Division also shared guidance on how cyber criminals are attempting to capitalize on the uncertainty and fear surrounding the pandemic. CID recommends you be suspicious of anyone who contacts you offering advice on prevention, protection or recovery – especially if they ask for money. Known scams include:
• Someone claiming to represent the health department tells you of the risks of COVID-19 and offers you a vaccination or other testing.
• Someone claiming to be from your bank or an investment firm who you do not already have a relationship with, offers investment alternatives to protect you from economic and market uncertainties.
• Someone threatens you with repercussions (arrest, prosecution, confinement) if you don’t pay a fee.
• Someone claiming to be from a hospital where a loved one is being treated for the virus is in urgent need of money before lifesaving treatments can be rendered.
• Someone claims to be your friend who is stuck in a foreign country and can’t get home unless a “virus prevention” or other fee is paid.
• Unsolicited emails offer expert advice or information. They could contain malware or the links in the email could take you to a site with malware.
• Someone asks for personally identifiable information, bank account or financial information, or information about family members.
Army Materiel Command leadership is actively sharing this DOD and Army guidance across the enterprise.
“It will take all of us collectively to combat COVID-19,” said AMC Commander Gen. Gus Perna. “We have to be diligent in our efforts, both personally and professionally, to make sure that we can carry on the way we are supposed to every day.”