Coronavirus Scams: What to Watch For
ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL — There are reports of price gouging for certain products like N95 respirator masks. Arizona does not have laws prohibiting price gouging or charging high prices in times of emergency or heightened public health concerns. Consumers who believe they’ve been a victim of consumer fraud can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office.
“It’s disgusting how people will go to great lengths to capitalize on public concern and exploit something as serious as the coronavirus,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “The public needs to think before they click on any unsolicited link or an email from any organization mentioning the coronavirus. If the public has questions about the coronavirus, they need to seek out that information on their own from reputable sources.”
Attorney General Brnovich has the following consumer tips for the public:
- Beware of phishing emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). Fraudsters are posing as the CDC and WHO and sending legitimate-looking emails to consumers. Do not click on any unsolicited links.
- A recently released report by Check Point Research found that over 4,000 coronavirus-related domains have been registered across the globe since January of this year. It is common for illegitimate and exploitative domains to pop-up around high-profile public events such as natural disasters or tragedies.
- Look out for coronavirus-related investment scams. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an alert about investor fraud involving claims that a company’s products or services could prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus. More information, go here.
- Watch out for “miracle” products or vaccines that claim to cure the coronavirus. Oftentimes the websites will include “supposed” personal testimonials instead of scientific evidence.
- Do your homework before you donate. It is common for scammers to set up GoFundMe fundraisers after highly publicized events and then disappear with the money.
- For the latest information about the coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website or the Arizona Department of Health website.
If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website. If you need a complaint form sent to you, you can contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.