Indiana AG warns of coronavirus-related scams

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Attorney General Curtis Hill is advising Hoosiers to be aware of potential scams related to the coronavirus.

In a media release, the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division said it is actively communicating with health departments, clinics and retail outlets to stay on top of potential scams and concerns.

On Thursday, Hill said scams become more prevalent in times of crisis and that fraudsters will often try to take advantage of vulnerable consumers during difficult times. Hill said cyber-scams involving emails or text messages related to the coronavirus have already been reported.

“The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly left many Hoosiers feeling worried, scared or uncertain about the world around them,” Hill said.

“Scammers capitalize on challenging times like this to prey on innocent consumers. Falling victim to a scam during this pandemic could have irreversible consequences.”

Attorney General Hill offered these tips to avoid phishing scams during the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Be on alert for communications with dangerous attachments or fraudulent links.
  • Treat any emails or texts with subject lines or information about coronavirus with caution.
  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments.
  • Always verify the email addresses of those who send you emails.
  • Use trusted, legitimate government websites to obtain up-to-date information.
  • Don’t reveal personal or financial information via email or text message.
  • Verify the authenticity of a charity before donating money.

“It’s a shame that in these already tough times, scammers are trying to make consumers’ lives even more difficult,” said Hill. “But by exercising caution, you can avoid them.”

Hill also asked Indiana residents to avoid fake products that claim to test for, prevent or treat coronavirus.

“The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have said there are currently no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products commercially available to treat or cure the virus.”

Hoosiers are asked to check back regularly here for Office of the Attorney General consumer-related updates and alerts.

To submit a price-gouging complaint, the Office is encouraging Hoosiers to utilize the online consumer complaint form. You can find the form by going to www.indianaconsumer.com and clicking “File a Complaint.”

For up-to-date information about the coronavirus, please visit the Indiana State Department of Health website at https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/. You may also call the department 24/7 at 1-877-826-0011.

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