DA: Tips To Avoid Being Ripped Off During Virus Outbreak

A population consumed by fear is an ideal feeding ground for scam artists. The Shasta County District Attorney’s Office Fraud Prevention Unit has seen a lot of scams emerge from the current situation.

–The pending federal stimulus check will not require any fee up front, and the government will not call for your social security, bank account or credit card number.

–There are no products available to treat COVID-19, there are no home testing kits, and using Chloroquine Phosphate, as some have done, won’t prevent COVID-19, but it can easily cause illness or death.

–A number of price gouging reports have been ,made to the D.A.’s Office and all of them are being investigated. That means an increase in price of most goods or services of more than 10% during an emergency declaration.

–Fake charities are popping up as quickly as thieves can think of names to give them. A good way to check them is with the State Charity Regulator at nasconet.org.

–Personal information is being stolen and malware is being installed through scam e-mails, text messages and social media posts claiming to be from the C.D.C., the World Health Organization, or any number of government agencies. These messages should not be opened, links should not be clicked and attachments should not be opened.

–Investment schemes in companies that have technologies to prevent, detect or cure COVID-19 are popular, but they’re lying.

–With many people working from home, data theft is much easier with so much of it being transmitted across the Internet. Anyone offering software for download should be suspected. It’s always best to check first with a trusted company contact. Companies should provide their employees with such a contact they can call.

The District Attorney’s Office has extra staff working the Consumer Protection Unit Fraud Hotline at 225-5391.

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