Below are COVID-19 related scams Washington consumers should beware of.
SBA Loan and Grant Fraud
The Small Business Administration is warning Americans to be on the lookout for grant fraud, loan fraud, and phishing emails. If you are contacted by someone promising to get approval of an SBA loan, but requires any payment up front or offers a high interest bridge loan in the interim, suspect fraud.
Beware of SBA Scams and Fraud (Small Business Administration)
Checks from the Government Scams
The Federal Trade Commission is warning Americans to beware of scams regarding checks coming from the federal government. Keep in mind that the government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. No fees. No charges. No nothing. The government also will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number. Anyone who does is a scammer
Checks from the Government: Watch out for scams (Federal Trade Commission)
Consumers have been reporting price gouging during the COVID-19 outbreak. Attorney General Bob Ferguson has announced his office is investigating complaints of price gouging in the COVID-19 public-health crisis.
Report Price Gouging (Attorney General's Office)
COVID-19 Investment Scams
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions is reminding investors to beware of con artists looking to cash in on the COVID-19 outbreak. Before making any major investment decisions you should do your research and verify that you are working with licensed financial professionals.
Be On Guard Against Fraudulent Investment Schemes (North American Securities Administrators Association)
Coronavirus-Related Investment Scams (Securities and Exchange Commission)
Scams Involving Cryptocurrency Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Fraudsters are leveraging increased fear and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money and launder it through the complex cryptocurrency ecosystem. Many traditional financial crimes and money laundering schemes are now orchestrated via cryptocurrencies.
FDIC Imposter Scams
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is warning scammers using their name fraudulently. The FDIC does not send unsolicited correspondence asking for money or sensitive personal information.
Text Message and Robocall Scams
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is warning Americans to beware of text message and robocall scams regarding COVID-19. The FCC has received reports of scam and hoax text message campaigns and scam robocalls offering free home testing kits, promoting bogus cures, selling health insurance, and preying on virus-related fears.
Text Message and Robocall Scams (Federal Communications Commission)
Phishing Email Scams
Be on the look out for phishing emails asking you to to provide personal information and trick you into clicking on links. You should never be asked to provide personal information such as social security number, bank account information, or passwords via email.
How to Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams (Federal Trade Commission)
Counterfeit Treatments or Equipment
Be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. Be alert to counterfeit products such as sanitizing products and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns, and gloves. More information on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh. You can also find information on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website, www.fda.gov, and the Environmental Protection Agency website, www.epa.gov. Report counterfeit products at www.ic3.gov and to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at iprcenter.gov.
Rumors regarding the COVID-19 pandemic continue to circulate. Always go to trusted sources of information like coronavirus.gov, coronavirus.wa.gov, or your state and local government’s official websites or social media accounts for instructions and information specific to your community.
Tips for Avoiding Fraud
- Government agencies will not call or text you about benefits or money, and they won’t ask you for a deposit, fees or other payment in order to get your benefits.
- Government agencies will not ask you for your Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card number.
- Be careful about emails, calls, and texts from sources you don’t know