Watch Out for Counterfeit COVID-19 Vaccine Offers
As North Carolina continues to administer vaccines to people across the state, please be on the lookout for offers for unapproved or counterfeit vaccines. Here’s what you should know about these offers and about other COVID-19 vaccine scams.
Hang Up on Utility Phone Call Scams
Scams targeting electric and natural gas customers are on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. Phone scammers may pose as utilities providers, calling you to claim that you owe the company money. They may threaten to disconnect your service and insist that you immediately pay them with a prepaid debit card. In June 2020, Duke Energy reported that it had the highest amount of reported scam attempts to date.
Watch out for Job Post Scams for Covid-19 Contact Tracers
Watch out for job posting scams impersonating the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. These postings claim to be hiring contact tracers to help get in touch with people diagnosed with COVID-19 in North Carolina and trace their contacts to help prevent further spread of the virus. These scammers are falsely offering generous compensation and benefits to persuade people to hand over their information.
Watch for Mail Containing Economic Impact Payment Debit Cards
Nearly 4 million people have received their economic payment from the federal government through the mail on a prepaid debit card, and consumers from across North Carolina have called our office to ask if these are scam letters. While you should always look out for potential scams when receiving unsolicited letters, mail from Money Network Cardholder Services is likely legitimate and may contain your payment.
Protect Yourself from Unemployment Fraud
The U.S. Secret Service has alerted our office about an unemployment fraud scheme targeting people in states across the country, including North Carolina. The scammers, based in Nigeria, use personal information stolen in data breaches and hacks to file for unemployment in someone else’s name.
GUIDE: Protect Yourself from Coronavirus Scams
Report scams to the North Carolina Department of Justice at ncdoj.gov/complaint or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.
Consumer Alert: Watch out for Scammers Posing as Family Members to Steal your Money
During the coronavirus pandemic, scammers are leveraging your fear for your loved one’s safety to steal your money and personal information. Reports have been received from our federal partners of scammers putting a new spin on the common grandparent scam during the pandemic. In this scam, criminals pose as panicked grandchildren in need of money to help with an emergency (urgent medical bills, bail, or plane tickets).
Consumer Alert: Don’t Lose Your Recovery Money to Scammers
In March, the federal government enacted a $2 trillion recovery law that will give many Americans up to $1,200 per person, with additional amounts for children, to help navigate economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As this money is sent out over the next few weeks, please be careful of scammers trying to get your personal or financial information so they can pocket your money or ruin your good name.
Consumer Alert: Be on the Lookout for Debt Relief Scams
Whenever a crisis like the coronavirus pandemic happens, scammers try to take advantage of people’s economic fears to steal their money. As North Carolinians continue to adjust to the financial impacts of this pandemic, we want you to be on the lookout for debt relief scams. In these scams, scammers offer to help reduce consumers debt, but end up driving you further into debt.
Consumer Alert: Hang Up on Robocall Coronavirus Scams
As North Carolinians work to stay healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers are looking to take advantage of their fears. Our office has received information from federal partners about robocalls and text message scams offering bogus miracle cures, free at-home test kits, updates from government authorities, and home cleaning that scammers claim will reduce your risk of getting COVID-19. Some robocallers may also be offering help obtaining stimulus checks from the federal government.
Consumer Alert: Be Wary of Door-to-Door Coronavirus Scammers
Scammers are going door to door in neighborhoods selling coronavirus testing kits and cleaning supplies. This activity could be both a scam and a pretense to enter your home, possibly to commit robbery or other criminal acts. Concerns about the coronavirus pandemic are real, but please continue to be careful. Don’t open the door if you don’t know the visitor, and if you’re concerned for your safety, please contact local law enforcement immediately.
Attorney Josh Stein NCDOJ.GOV