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Scams – COVID-19-Issues

Last updated June 29, 2020

General Information

Fraudulent Treatment Products

Tips for Avoiding COVID-19 Scams

How to Make a Complaint

Price Gouging

News Stories

 

COVID-19 Related Scams – General Information

Information from the San Diego Sheriff about the different types of COVID-19 related scams, including links to the FBI, California Attorney General’s Office and Federal Trade Commission for more information:

https://www.sdsheriff.net/financial/

 

COVID-19 Related Scams – Fraudulent Treatment Products

Food and Drug Administration information about fraudulent/unapproved COVID-19 related products, with links to warning letters that have been issued:

https://www.fda.gov/consumers/health-fraud-scams/fraudulent-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-products

Federal Trade Commission warning about scam Coronavirus treatments:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/03/ftc-fda-warnings-sent-sellers-scam-coronavirus-treatments?fbclid=IwAR0QyxHVPeWBnCQFv9rCpDxWDsHaY27JMj5wUjdWSdXyHobs314DNqGH4VM

 

Tips for Avoiding COVID-19 Scams

Tips from the Federal Trade Commission:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/02/coronavirus-scammers-follow-headlines

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/03/socially-distancing-covid-19-robocall-scams?utm_source=govdelivery

Government agencies will never call, text or contact you on social media asking for money or offering to assist you with benefits such as economic stimulus payments. See this page for more information on avoiding “government imposter” scams:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/06/how-avoid-covid-19-government-imposter-scams

FTC: Tips for Avoiding Stimulus Payment Scams:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/04/coronavirus-stimulus-payment-scams-what-you-need-know?utm_campaign=coronavirus&utm_content=CA_stimulus_payment_scams&utm_medium=&utm_source=govdelivery

Tips from the Federal Communications Commission:

https://www.fcc.gov/covid-scams

From the Treasury Department – what to do if you receive communications offering COVID-19 related grants or payments in exchange for a fee or personal information (this is a scam):

https://home.treasury.gov/services/report-fraud-waste-and-abuse/covid-19-scams

Tips from the Better Business Bureau:

https://www.bbb.org/council/coronavirus/

Defending Against COVID-19 Cyber Scams – Department of Homeland Security:

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2020/03/06/defending-against-covid-19-cyber-scams

Tips from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department:

https://lasd.org/coronavirus-scams/

Tips from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation:

This article is from 2014 but is relevant to avoiding scams in the current situation.

https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnsum14/profit.html

Tips from StaySafeOnline.org:

COVID-19 Security Resource Library

Avoiding Social Security Scams During COVID-19:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/04/avoiding-ssa-scams-during-covid-19?utm_source=govdelivery

Tips from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service:

Coronavirus Related Scams

Video from U.S. Postal Inspection Service about Economic Impact Payment/Stimulus Check Scams:

Tips for Avoiding Scams Related to Coronavirus Donations (FTC):

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/05/make-your-coronavirus-donations-count?utm_source=govdelivery

How to Make a Complaint – COVID-19 Related Scams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a complaint to the National Center for Disaster Fraud by calling their hotline at 866-720-5721 or emailing them at disaster@leo.gov (any type of fraud related to COVID-19 or Coronavirus).

https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus#reportfraud

Make a complaint to the FTC (malicious emails/pfishing scams, miracle treatment claims, charity scams):

https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1

Make a complaint to the California Attorney General’s Office (price gouging):

https://www.oag.ca.gov/consumers

Make a complaint to the FBI (Internet related scams):

https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

Make a complaint to the San Diego City Attorney (False Advertising/Dangerous Products):

https://www.sandiego.gov/cityattorney/protections

Information about how to report price gouging and scams in San Diego County from the City Attorney’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, and U.S. Attorney’s Office:

https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/nr200323a.pdf

Price Gouging   

FAQ’s About Price Gouging including how to report it– California Attorney General:

https://oag.ca.gov/consumers/pricegougingduringdisasters

San Diego District Attorney’s Office – Price gouging and how to report it:

https://danewscenter.com/news/report-price-gouging-during-coronavirus (English)

http://danewscenter.com/news/fiscal%C3%ADa-advierte-sobre-el-incremento-de-precios-durante-estado-de-emergencia (Spanish)

Reporting Price Gouging to the Better Business Bureau:

https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/21761-bbb-alert-coronavirus-price-gouging-is-up-report-inflated-prices-to-bbb-ad-truth

California Price Gouging Statute:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=396&lawCode=PEN

A compilation of price gouging statutes nationwide:

https://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/price-gouging-state-statutes.aspx

News Stories About COVID-19 Scams

Price Gouging in San Diego County:

https://www.10news.com/news/local-news/eight-san-diego-county-residents-arrested-accused-of-price-gouging-during-emergency

Coronavirus Scams in East Bay:

https://patch.com/california/alameda/coronavirus-scams-have-begun-east-bay-police

Warning About Door-To-Door Coronavirus Scam:

https://www-1.fresnobee.com/news/coronavirus/article241321556.html#

Warning About Cyber Scams:

https://wgntv.com/news/coronavirus/secret-service-warns-of-cyber-scams-during-covid-19-outbreak/

Pfishing Alert from Secret Service:

https://www.secretservice.gov/data/press/releases/2020/20-MAR/Secret_Service_Coronavirus_Phishing_Alert.pdf

Warning About Emails Claiming to be from WHO:

https://www.who.int/about/communications/cyber-security

Seven Coronavirus Scams Targeting Your Business, From the FTC:

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/blogs/business-blog/2020/03/seven-coronavirus-scams-targeting-your-business

California Man Arrested for”Fake Cure” Related Scam:

Los Angeles Man Accused Of Soliciting Investments For Fake Coronavirus Cure

FDA Warns CBD Sellers About Bogus COVID-19 Claims:

https://www.law360.com/articles/1261328/fda-warns-more-cbd-sellers-about-bogus-covid-19-claims?nl_pk=f1e2773f-d111-4d7a-bc68-cd06018eaca7&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=special

Warning About Social Security Payment Suspension Scam:

https://oig.ssa.gov/newsroom/news-releases/march20-advisory

FTC Warns About Multilevel Marketing Scams during COVID-19 Pandemic:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/04/ftc-sends-covid-related-warnings-mlm-companies?utm_source=govdelivery

FTC Issues More Warning about COVID-19 Treatment Scams

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/06/more-ftc-warnings-about-scam-coronavirus-treatments?utm_source=govdelivery

Contract Tracing Text Message Scams

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/05/covid-19-contact-tracing-text-message-scams

COVID-19 Mask Exemption Cards are Not Issued by the Government:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/06/covid-mask-exemption-cards-are-not-government