Protect Yourself from Coronavirus (COVID-19) Scams
Our office (District Attorney of Kings County) is committed to protecting the public from scammers and solicitors trying to take advantage of fear and confusion over the Coronavirus pandemic. If you or a loved one believe you have been targeted or are the victim of a crime, please call our Action Center Hotline at (718) 250-2340 to speak with a specialist and file a report.
Our law enforcement partners have identified several common Coronavirus scams to be aware of:
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued an advisory for taxpayers to be on the lookout for a surge of calls and email phishing, including scams related to the distribution of government issued economic impact payments. Calls requesting money, personal information or inquiring about “Stimulus Checks” or “Stimulus Payment” should be ignored and reported.
- The NYPD Crime Prevention Division detected several instances where people have been scammed attempting to get refunds for flights cancelled due to Coronavirus. It also issued a warning for the public to beware of scammers visiting, emailing or calling about disconnecting Con Edison service. Con Edison will not turn off service during this health emergency.
- The Social Security Administration (SSA) warned the public about fraudulent letters threatening suspension of Social Security benefits due to Coronavirus-related office closures.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alerted consumers to investigate online sellers before purchasing in-demand products, such as cleaning, health and medical supplies and to research Coronavirus relief charities before donating money. The FTC also advised consumers to update their computer and email security settings to avoid emails containing ransomware or malware and hang up on robocalls immediately.
In addition, the Federal Trade Commission has issued practical tips to protect people from Coronavirus-related scams.
Ultimately, caution and diligence remain the best tools to defend yourself from scammers and solicitors. Please continue to stay informed through verified government agencies and trusted sources of information, do your homework before purchasing products online or donating to charities and ignore calls, emails or offers from sources you don’t know.