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Combating Consumer Scams Amid COVID-19

As Texans, we have weathered our share of crises and disaster, although, here in southeast Texas, it’s usually in the form of a hurricane. Times of crisis and uncertainty, such as the current COVID-19 outbreak, tend to bring out not only the very best in people, but also the very worst, as individuals and businesses alike seize the opportunity to take advantage.

As explained by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, “situations like this usually bring the best of our communities to the forefront with cooperation, aid, and compassion. Unfortunately, some criminals take advantage of troubling circumstances to steal from hard-working Texans. As communities prepare to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and care for those in need, my office will work diligently to stop the scams perpetrated by those who look to take advantage of our citizens.”

Some common scams addressed by the Texas Attorney General’s office include price gouging (excessive price increase in essential goods), door-to-door contractors, illegitimate charities, cyber scams, IRS or Government impostor scams, and business opportunity or employment scams.

With regards to common scams, the Texas Attorney General and U.S. Department of Homeland Security have issued these precautions:

  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails, be wary of email attachments, and do not click on embedded links in unsolicited emails.
  • Use trusted sources – such as legitimate, government websites – for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19.
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information.
  • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations or only give to charities you are already familiar with.

Scammers are always looking for new ways to trick consumers, but there are some commons signs of most scams:

  • They contacted you.
  • They dangle bait (usually money).
  • They want your personal information.
  • You have to pay them first.
  • You have to wire money or send gift cards.

If you believe that you have encountered a scam, you are encouraged to immediately reach out to the Texas Attorney General’s Office by calling 800-621-0508 or by filing a complaint online at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer-protection. If you are uncertain or would like to discuss your situation further, the attorneys at The Strong Firm, P.C. are ready to help.

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