Greensburg, IN - As COVID-19 spreads across the world, a certain group of people are taking advantage of those in their time of need- scammers.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumer complaints related to coronavirus have surged in recent weeks as the virus reaches critical levels. The FTC reports that more than 7,800 coronavirus reports have been filed by consumers since the beginning of 2020, with consumers reporting a loss of $4.77 million.
Coronavirus-related scams range anywhere from cancelled travel and vacation refunds, mobile donations, fundraising requests for organizations, churches asking for assistance, health officials with false virus information and IRS imposters requesting direct deposit information for stimulus checks.
Residents are encouraged to use these tips provided by the Office of the Indiana Attorney General to avoid phone and phishing scams during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Carefully inspect the email addresses in all messages landing in your inbox.
- Treat with caution any emails or texts with subject lines or information about the coronavirus.
- Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments.
- Use trusted, legitimate government websites to obtain up-to-date information.
- Don’t reveal personal or financial information via email, text message or over the phone.
- Verify the authenticity of a charity before donating money.
- Don't answer phone calls from unfamiliar phone numbers.
- Read guidelines offered by the Federal Trade Commission on avoiding phishing scams.
"It's unfortunate that there are people out there taking advantage of people during this crisis," said Mayor Joshua Marsh. "Scammers are attempting to take advantage of those who are the most vulnerable in our community. I encourage all residents to be aware and stay vigilant as we continue to fight coronavirus."
If residents receive a phone call or suspicious email from someone they do not know, they are encouraged to call the Office of the Indiana Attorney General at 1-800-382-5516 to file a consumer complaint.