COVID-19 turning into a scammer’s dream

LOGAN – Like every other crises, COVID-19 is an ideal time for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting people and drain bank accounts.

Logan Police Department wants to give people a heads up on scams that are likely to come with the pandemic. The police department has come up with a brochure for people who have fallen victim to scams. The brochure is to help people discern scams from legitimate calls.

See the brochure here: Scam Flyer

“We had some requests for something we could give people to help keep people from being scammed again,” said Detective Andrew Soelberg of the LPD investigation division. “Some people can’t remember what we tell them so we created a pamphlet for people who have fallen victims to a scam.”

Once you have been scammed, you are more likely to get more phone calls with other offers.

“Scams kind of come in waves, but they are consistent,” Soelberg said. “We subscribe to Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information newsletter and it informs us on what the trends are.”

This is a prime time for scammers because there are many unknowns. With the COVID-19 pandemic scammers are preying on emotions we are experiencing right now.

Soelberg gave the following tips to help residents work their way through the process of a scam call.

“Be cautious, don’t be rushed and check it out yourself,” he said. “Research it, or, if you can, talk to someone you trust about it.”

He said scammers usually start in other places before they come to Logan.

“There are people calling that say they have stuff they don’t,” he said. “At Home Test Kits are scams. Don’t pay any money before you find them out.”

Assistant Director for Division of Consumer and Business Education Karen Hobbs said scammers are using illegal robocalls to profit from Coronavirus-related fears.

“Scammers need only a few people to take the bait for them to make money,” she said. “They might do that by getting your bank account number, tricking you into handing over gift card PIN codes, or stealing valuable personal information like your Social Security number.”

Times like these bring out the best in people and the worst in scammers pretending to be from the Social Security Administration, offering fake Coronavirus tests to Medicare recipients, and scaring small businesses into buying bogus online listing services.

The FTC is taking the fight against illegal Coronavirus robocalls to companies that help scam telemarketers. That includes companies that transmit or carry these kinds of calls for telemarketers or that give the phone numbers that scammers use for people to call them back.

“Scamming companies are being warned they may face penalties for helping telemarketers that use these kinds of illegal robocalls,” Hobbs said. “Share the link…and encourage others to subscribe to the FTC’s consumer alerts.”

If you get a scam call:

  • Hang up. Don’t press any numbers. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.
  • Consider using a call blocking app or device. You also can ask your phone provider if it has call-blocking tools. To learn more, go to ftc.gov/calls.
  • Report the call. Report robocalls at ftc.gov/complaint. The more they hear from you, the more they can help fight scams.

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