Keep Your Eyes Open for Scams
As the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak becomes more prevalent, so do the scammers. From fake government texts to price gouging and everything in between, now is the time to be aware and protect yourself and your family. Here are a few tips to avoid scammers during these uncertain times:
- The Government will never call you to verify personal information such as your social security number, account numbers, etc. While information of stimulus checks are surfacing, the checks have not been issued by the Federal Government at this time. Anyone representing themselves as an employee of the federal government contacting you by phone, text or email is likely a scam.
Hang Up on Robo-calls
- Scammers are making calls offering vaccinations and work-from-home jobs that are not real.
Beware of “Mandatory” COVID-19 Test Texts
• Current reports say that scammers are impersonating the US Department of Health and Human Services, but they are unlikely to stop there. The message tells you that you must take a “mandatory online COVID-19 test” and has a link to a website. But there is no online test for coronavirus! These texts are phishing for personal information. They also can download malware to your device, which opens you up to risk for identity theft.
Ignore Offers for Vaccinations or At-Home Test Kits
- At this time, there is no FDA-approved home test kit or vaccinations. Do not fall victim to sending money for tests or other requests related to COVID-19.
Internet Safety is important
- Discuss this with kids: Predators will take advantage, as we are all online more during this time.
- Do not share valuable personal info via Facebook, social media or email.
- Phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been seen frequently lately. In addition, there are many seeking donations fraudulently for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations.
Be Careful with Online Purchases
- Before purchasing items online, make sure you know the person or business you are purchasing items from. Verify the purchase and return policies to ensure your funds may be returned in the event necessary.
- Avoid and report price gouging! This can be reported by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud by calling the National Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or by e-mailing email@example.com
In addition to these helpful tips, here is a list of other helpful resources that may help you navigate the days ahead:
- Better Business Bureau – https://www.bbb.org
- Federal Trade Commisson – https://www.consumer.ftc.gov
- Louisiana Attorney General – https://www.ag.state.la.us
- US Dept of Justice – https://www.justice.gov
- Internal Revenue Service – https://www.irs.gov
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