North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is warning residents to be on the lookout for scam artists taking advantage of the current coronavirus emergency.
The state’s consumer protection division warns other states have already seen scams using the coronavirus, including a report of one scam involving a supposed automatic credit or bank charge for a coronavirus test kit which can only be canceled and refunded if the unsuspecting victim will “verify” their account information and mailing address.
“We see a surge in scams after every natural disaster, large and small, so it doesn’t surprise me that scam artists would try using this global pandemic in their efforts to prey on potential victims,” said Stenehjem. “A healthy dose of skepticism will help stop the scam artists in their tracks.”
Stenehjem offered the following tips to help North Dakotans to avoid scams:
- Watch for “phishing” emails – ones that appear to come from legitimate government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, especially if the email encourages you to click on a link for more information. Simply delete them without responding.
- Ignore phone calls, emails, advertising or mail items offering a miracle cure for, or protection against, coronavirus. These are scams. There currently is no vaccine or cure. When one is available, residents can be sure that the appropriate government agencies will promptly provide information to the public.
- Don’t be fooled by calls or text messages claiming that you are required to pay for testing or to provide personal information as part of a government response to the Coronavirus. These are scams.
- Beware of unauthorized or fraudulent charities or solicitations. Bogus charities will try to solicit donations during these emergencies. Do not donate any funds without doing your homework. Check the Secretary of State’s website at http://sos.nd.gov/ to confirm if the entity is registered and contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-472-2600, or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have concerns or suspect fraud.