Saunders warns of coronavirus-related scams, highlights helpful tips

Posted by: Lydia Kirschner  | Thursday, July 16, 2020 11:19 am

STATEHOUSE (July 16, 2020) – State Rep. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville) urges Hoosiers to be vigilant in protecting themselves against scams, which continue to surge during the public health pandemic.

He 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. The Federal Trade Commission reported receiving more than 117,000 consumer complaints involving COVID-19 scams, with approximately half of the people reporting losses, totaling $75 million.

"This is a challenging time for many, and scammers often use our vulnerabilities to their advantage," Saunders said. "Avoid falling victim to these tricks, protect your private information and stay updated on the scams popping up."

According to the FTC, there has been an increase in online shopping fraud as some stores were closed or remain closed due to the pandemic. These scams can include offers for hard-to-find items, such as face masks and hand sanitizer, and the FTC recommends researching companies and checking their online reviews before making a purchase.

Scammers are also 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. 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.

The IRS won’t contact individuals by phone, email, text message or social media with information about tax information, or to ask for a Social Security number, bank account, or government benefits debit card account number. 

To guard against coronavirus scams, Saunders 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. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville) represents House District 54,

which includes Henry County and portions of Rush and Wayne counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.