STATEHOUSE (July 9, 2020) – State Reps. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville) and Cindy Ziemke (R-Batesville) urge Hoosiers to be vigilant in protecting themselves against scams, which continue to surge during the public health pandemic.
Saunders 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 prey on innocent people," Saunders said. "Avoid falling victim to these tricks protecting your private information and being aware of the number of 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. Ziemke 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.
"Please be careful with your personal information and don't provide it just because you're asked to," Ziemke said. "Be on high alert because scammers are always finding new ways to steal your information and your money."
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Hoosiers have had an extra three months to file their state and federal taxes, which has also kept the doors open to scammers looking take advantage of tax refunds. Originally set for April 15, the deadline to file has been extended to July 15. 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, Ziemke asked Hoosiers to follow these five tips provided by the FTC:
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.
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.
State Rep. Cindy Ziemke (R-Batesville) represents House District 55, which includes
all of Fayette County and portions of Decatur, Franklin, Ripley and Rush counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo of Ziemke.