Just as you take precautions to protect your health, also be careful to protect your finances. Be careful not to fall prey to scam artists who may seek to harm you in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scam artists using online tools, the telephone, or even the mail will try to trick you into spending your money.
Phone scammers often disguise their identity by using illegal “spoofing” techniques to send false information to your caller ID display. To trick you into answering, spoofers may use local area codes and numbers that look familiar. Or they may impersonate a company you do business with, such as a local utility, or even a hospital or government agency. If you answer, they use scam scripts to try to steal your money or valuable personal information, which can be used in fraudulent activity.
If you suspect a Coronavirus Scam, please report it to the Louisiana Department of Justice Hotline toll-free at (800) 351-4889 or fill out a Consumer Dispute Form.You also can report scams to law enforcement, the FCC and the FTC.
How to Avoid Scams
Be careful with unfamiliar companies or websites who claim they can sell you hard-to-find products, usually with very high prices.
Never give out your Social Security number, credit card number, passwords or bank account information over the phone – or on the Internet – unless you initiated the contact.
Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer and it’s not who you expected, don’t hang on, hang up.
If a caller asks you to hit a button to stop getting calls, just hang up.
Never assume an unexpected call is legitimate. Hang up and call back using a number you can verify on a bill, a statement, or an official website.
Use extreme caution if you are being pressured for immediate payment.
Ask your phone company about call blocking tools for landlines or apps for mobile devices.