Scams surround coronavirus concerns

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — A wave of scams spread across the online and mobile marketplace as concerns mount surrounding the spread of COVID–19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The U.S. Social Security Administration says beware of phony messages indicating social security payments are cut off, which they say is not true.

A warning from the U.S. Social Security Administration for potential scammers.

As federal officials consider sending checks to Americans to help with the cost of living throughout the coronavirus pandemic, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Central Virginia Barry Moore says don’t fall for the phonies.

People may “get a text message on your cell phone saying, ‘Hey, I’m from the government or from such and such thing representing the government. If you want your free money, send your information and your bank transfer here, and we’ll send you your thousand dollars.’ It’s all bogus,” Moore said.

The BBB says scams include fake at-home test kits for the virus, which are not even available, as well as face masks.

Moore said the “best thing to do is if you’re order a face mask online, I would go to one of the major retailers. You know, an Amazon a Walmart.”

At-home products like toilet paper and cleaning products can be found online with excessive price tags, known as ‘price gouging.’

“If somebody buys a bunch of things for three dollars, like hand sanitizers, and they turn around and try to sell it for $25 that’s what I would price gouging…’ ‘if it’s not a scam, it’s certainly unethical and untrustworthy,” Moore said.

If someone is potentially price-gouging products, consumers can report them to the Virginia Attorney General’s Office and to the Better Business Bureau.

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