He says they look at the coronavirus emergency as a way to cheat others, and make money.
Annapolis, Md (KM) As with any crisis, there are always scammers out there who see a chance to prey on other people, and make money.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh says there are folks out there who sell questionable products over the internet or the telephone. “First of all, people are selling what they claim are cures or vaccines. There is no cure. There is no vaccine. If anybody’s trying to sell you something like that, it’s a fraud.”
With the shortage of test kits for COVID-19, Frosh says there are fraudsters who’ve taken to the internet to sell home testing kits. “There are no tests that are available to you to use at home. The only time you can get a test is if it’s prescribed and it’s done in a medical setting,” he says.
On Capitol Hill, there’s a bill making the rounds that, if passed, could provide most Americans with a $1200 check, and scammers have contacted people saying they can get that money to them now. . “If you get a call or an e-mail or somebody visiting your door, saying ‘I’ll get you the check right away. Just give me the $15 delivery charge, or give me the following information about yourself.’ Those are frauds. People need to be really careful about them,”he says.
During emergencies or any other time, there are always fraudsters doing “phishing” expeditions, where they show up on the internet and claim to represent a government agency. “We’ve seen people posing as the Centers for Disease Control or the World Health Organization in e-mails. They’re seeking people’s personal information, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, stuff like that,” Frosh. He says the best way to respond is to delete the message.
All too often in any scam, the population targeted the most by fraudsters are senior citizens. “They know that people have retirement savings and they do not hesitate to wipe your bank account clean if you give them the opportunity to do that. So seniors especially need to be very careful about these calls and e-mails,” says Frosh.
If you do receive a telephone call or e-mail from an organization or individual you feel is fraudulent, Frosh says hang up the phone and delete the e-mail.
He also say in a majority of these cases, most people who are victims of scammer have little chance of getting their money back. “The odds of recovering money after it’s been taken from you is very low,” says Frosh. . “But if it happens, people should call our office. We’ll do the best we can to get it back.”
The number to call i 410-528-8661.
By Kevin McManus