Morgan County lawmakers warn of coronavirus-related scams, highlight helpful tips

Posted by: Wade Coggeshall and Samantha Holifield  | Friday, June 12, 2020

STATEHOUSE (June 12, 2020) — Morgan County legislators urge Hoosiers to be vigilant in protecting themselves against scams, which are surging during the public health pandemic.

State Rep. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) said it's important to stay informed and alert because fraudsters are using coronavirus-related fears to obtain personal and financial information from unsuspecting victims.

"With so many of us focused on employment, finances and protecting our health, it's easy to let our guard down when we get an unknown call or email with a special offer," Mayfield said. "Now it's more important than ever to be cautious of deals or promises that sound too good to be true."

According to the Federal Trade Commission, scammers are using text messages and robocalls to offer free home testing kits, promote fake cures and sell low-priced health insurance. Government imposter scams are also on the rise, including those targeting people on Medicare. State Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) said if a caller claims to be a Medicare representative and asks to verify personal information like bank account, Social Security or Medicare numbers, Hoosiers should hang up.

"Many Hoosiers are rightfully anxious about their health and finances during this crisis," Baird said. "Unfortunately, even in times like these, some people use this vulnerability to find potential targets for scams. Everyone should remain wary of such activity and report any fraud they encounter."

Criminals are also taking advantage of individuals who are expecting federal stimulus payments. Scammers will call, text and email asking for personal or bank account information in order to release funds. State Rep. John Young (R-Franklin) said the IRS won’t contact individuals by phone, email, text message or social media with information about stimulus payments, or to ask for a Social Security number, bank account, or government benefits debit card account number. 

"It is unfortunate that individuals are trying to take advantage of these difficult times," Young said. "Our community should remain vigilant and take every precaution to protect themselves and their families. While criminals may go to extraordinary lengths to steal personal information and money, we can outsmart them by being on the lookout for warning signs and being proactive."

To guard against coronavirus scams, local lawmakers asked Hoosiers to follow these five tips provided by the FTC: 

  • Ignore offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Scammers are selling products to treat or prevent COVID-19 without proof that they work;
  • Hang up on robocalls. Scammers use these illegal sales calls to get your money and personal information;
  • Watch out for phishing email and text messages. Don’t click on links in emails or texts you didn’t expect;
  • Research before you donate. Don't let anyone rush you into making a donation. Get tips on donating wisely at ftc.gov/charity; and
  • Be informed. Visit ftc.gov/coronavirus for the latest information on scams.

Hoosiers who believe they are a victim of a scam should contact law enforcement immediately. Report scams to the Indiana Attorney General’s office by visiting www.IndianaConsumer.com and the FTC by visiting ftc.gov/complaint

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State Rep. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) represents House District 60,
which includes portions of Morgan and Monroe counties.
She is the assistant majority floor leader and serves on the
House Ways and Means, Public Policy and Insurance committees.
Click here for a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) represents House District 44, which includes
all of Putnam County and portions of Clay, Morgan, Owen and Parke counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. John Young (R-Franklin) represents House District 47,
which includes portions of Johnson and Morgan counties.
Click
here to download a high-resolution photo.