Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has issued a Consumer Alert about new scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scams run the gambit from text messages and phone calls to imposters posing as health workers offering free COVID-19 tests. The bottom line is Floridians need to be on the lookout for scams and never provide personal or financial information to solicitors.
“Sadly, scammers never stop trying to make a dishonest dollar—not even amid a pandemic,” General Moody stated in a prepared release. “If you receive an unsolicited text message, email, phone call or any other communication claiming a cash payment, government benefit or other COVID-19 related offer, be very suspicious. Guard your personal and financial information and report scams to my office.”
Reports have emerged of Floridians receiving text messages requesting they click on a link to claim a $1,000 payment. Apparently connected to a COVID-19 federal stimulus package, the link most likely contains malware. Never click on links in unsolicited text messages or e-mails. A virus could be downloaded to your smartphone or computer.
The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is reporting a scam involving fraudsters calling older Americans and offering to mail them free COVID-19 test kits. The scammers claim all they need from the senior to send the free kit is the target’s Medicare number. Never provide health information, or any other personal information, in response to an unsolicited phone call, text message or e-mail.
Law enforcement agencies in South Florida have issued alerts about people dressed in white lab coats and masks impersonating Centers for Disease Control and Prevention workers. These imposters are reportedly knocking on doors offering free COVID-19 tests. The CDC is not sending people door-to-door to test for COVID-19. If an impersonator shows up at your door, do not let them in. Close the door immediately and contact your local police or sheriff’s office by dialing 911.
These are just a few of the latest scams emerging as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread. Floridians should be reminded that if an offer seems too good to be true, then it is probably a scam.
Attorney General Moody has also activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline in response to the COVID-19 state of emergency. Consumers suspicious of price gouging can report it by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.
Price gouging can also be reported to the Attorney General’s Office by downloading the free NO SCAM app in the Apple or Android app store. For a list of the commodities covered under the state’s price gouging laws during the COVID-19 state of emergency, click here.