State Rep. Cook warns of coronavirus-related scams, highlights helpful tips

Posted by: Andi TenBarge  | Wednesday, April 29, 2020

STATEHOUSE (April 29, 2020) – State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) urges Hoosiers to be vigilant in protecting themselves against scams, which are surging during the public health pandemic.

Cook 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.

"Many Hoosiers are in vulnerable positions right now with the public health and economic fallout of this pandemic," Cook said. "To take advantage of people during time of great uncertainty is repulsive. We all need to remain vigilant to protect ourselves from becoming a victim of these scams."

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. 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.

 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. 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. 

To guard against coronavirus scams, Cook 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. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) represents House District 32, which includes all of Tipton County and portions of Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Howard and Grant counties.

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