Consumers should be on alert for increased fraud during the COVID-19 outbreak. Consumers should be vigilant about protecting their finances and should not share financial or other sensitive information with anyone who contacts you unsolicited.
Coronavirus Scams To Watch Out For
Below are COVID-19 related scams Montana consumers should beware of.
Checks from the Government Scams
The Federal Trade Commission is warning Americans to beware of scams regarding checks coming from the federal government. Keep in mind that the government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. No fees. No charges. No nothing. The government also will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number. Anyone who does is a scammer.
Consumers have been reporting price gouging during the COVID-19 outbreak. Attorney General Tim Fox has warned consumers of potential price gouging and scams related to COVID-19 public-health crisis. For coronavirus-related consumer complaints regarding price gouging or scams, call the Montana Office of Consumer Protection at (800) 481-6896 or (406) 444-4500 or use their online complaint form.
COVID-19 Investment Scams
The Office of the Montana State Auditor is reminding investors to beware of con artists looking to cash in on the COVID-19 outbreak. Before making any major investment decisions you should do your research and verify that you are working with licensed financial professionals.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is warning scammers using their name fraudulently. The FDIC does not send unsolicited correspondence asking for money or sensitive personal information.
FinCen issued an advisory on detecting, preventing, and reporting consumer fraud and other illicit activity related to COVID-19.
Text Message and Robocall Scams
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is warning Americans to beware of text message and robocall scams regarding COVID-19. The FCC has received reports of scam and hoax text message campaigns and scam robocalls offering free home testing kits, promoting bogus cures, selling health insurance, and preying on virus-related fears.
Phishing Email Scams
Be on the lookout for phishing emails asking you to provide personal information and trick you into clicking on links. You should never be asked to provide personal information such as social security number, bank account information, or passwords via email. >
Counterfeit Treatments or Equipment
Be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. Be alert to counterfeit products such as sanitizing products and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns, and gloves. More information on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh. You can also find information on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website, www.fda.gov, and the Environmental Protection Agency website, www.epa.gov. Report counterfeit products at www.ic3.gov and to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at iprcenter.gov.
Rumors regarding the COVID-19 pandemic continue to circulate. Always go to trusted sources of information like coronavirus.gov, coronavirus.wa.gov, or your state and local government’s official websites or social media accounts for instructions and information specific to your community.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of the Inspector General
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is alerting the public about fraud schemes related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).