Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Scammers are finding new ways to exploit people’s economic distress to steal their money and personal information. Our office is aware of robocall scams that include criminals impersonating government officials, phony COVID-19 health insurance coverage, and fraudulent “easy money” offers to those out of work. As people look for economic relief, scammers are looking to take advantage.
Our office is working hard to protect consumers, and we want you to be able to avoid COVID-19 robocall scams. The best way to protect yourself is to follow these tips:
- Watch out for unsolicited messages and calls. Don’t respond to texts or calls from numbers you don’t recognize, and avoid giving personal or financial information or buying products from someone you don’t know. If you want information and legitimate updates on the COVID-19 response, go directly to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Avoid economic relief offers and surveys. Robocallers are offering plans to help reduce your debt, get help with student loans, pay off credit cards, make quick money, or answer surveys about your economic security. Be wary of offers that are too good to be true – they probably are. Don’t share your financial information with people who contact you, and do your research before you make a financial decision.
- Be skeptical of callers claiming to represent a government agency. To check if a message is legitimate, hang up and call the number listed on the government agency’s website. Find trusted sources of economic relief from our government partners here.
- Don’t let anyone rush you. Avoid sales offers that are only good “now or never.” Fears about the spread of COVID-19 mean that many people are making decisions under pressure – walk away from high-pressure sales pitches or cure-all promises. You should never feel like you have to make a decision or share financial information under pressure.
As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s crucial that we do so with accurate information and protect our personal information and money in the process. If a company contacts you and you’re unsure of their authenticity or if you believe that you have been the victim of a scam, contact our office’s Consumer Protection Division at ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.