Column By Tom O’Halleran/ Rep. AZ-01
I am reaching out today with some information to help you and your loved ones protect yourselves from coronavirus-related fraud and scams.
Unfortunately, scammers are targeting Arizonans’ hard-earned dollars and attempting to exploit the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus through a variety of outlets. Below, I have tips and resources to help you and your family stay educated and vigilant.
Protect yourself from fraud:
- Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from fake coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes.
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. At this time, there is no cure or vaccination for COVID-19, and there are no FDA-authorized home test kits. Visit the FDA’s website to learn more.
- Do not respond to texts or emails about checks from the government from contacts you do not know. If someone tells you they can get you money immediately, it is a scam.
- Do not click on web links from unfamiliar sources. These links could download viruses onto your computer or device.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. For reliable and up-to-date information and updates, it is always best to visit the CDC’s website or the World Health Organization’s website.
- Do your research before donating to charities claiming to help with COVID-19 efforts. Be wary of donations that require payment in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.
If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, you can report it without leaving your home through a number of platforms:
- Contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Report to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov
- If you are dealing with a cyber scam, submit your complaint through the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, here.
There are also general fraud assistance resources available to you on my website. If you have questions or concerns, reach out to any of my Arizona offices. Contact information can be found here, and at the bottom of this email.
I encourage you to stay alert during this time of uncertainty and ensure that you are taking the necessary precautions to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy. Together, as Americans, we will get through this.