In response to a surge in phone and internet scams in recent weeks, the office of Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas has created a coronavirus scam hotline.
As communities across New York battle the coronavirus epidemic, the NCDA office has received reports of new identity theft scams and opportunistic schemes peddling fake tests and bogus cures for Covid-19. Singas established the hotline for Nassau residents to report suspected scams to the District Attorney’s Financial Crimes Bureau for investigation.
The Nassau County District Attorney Coronavirus Scam Hotline is (516) 571-3505. Reports can also be emailed to email@example.com. All calls and emails will remain confidential to the extent allowed by law.
Singas said many of the scammers are rebranding old scams to take advantage of the current climate selling counterfeit merchandise including medicine, fake test kits and vaccines, masks, sanitizers and cleaning products. Cleaning supplies, protective equipment and medications should be purchased only from a reputable retailer and medications should be taken in accordance with directions from a medical professional.
SUB: Other types of scams
Other scams include online order scams, in which scammers pose as online merchants offering hard-to-get goods such as sanitizer, masks and toilet paper who take personal and financial information. These pop-up sites frequently steal financial information and either deliver no product or counterfeit and potentially dangerous goods.
To avoid online scams, Google any unfamiliar websites and check online reviews. Pay by credit card so it is possible to dispute a fraudulent purchase. Do not use a debit card or other online money delivery service.
Fake health insurance and mortgage relief scams are also common and can be avoided by only dealing with reputable companies and financial advisors.
Fake emails, texts and phone calls could be used by scammers as well. Federal and state agencies are not sending out emails or texts or making phone calls to individuals in public regarding any cash payments. If contacting a federal agency is required, look up the phone numbers on the agency’s official website.
Do not respond to these communications by clicking on any links, responding to any questions or providing any personal information. A hacker may try to hijack the user’s computer, steal data or install malware. They can also freeze the computer and change the password and demand ransom to unlock it.
Many scammers are also preying on the good will of people during the crisis by creating false charities. Check charitiesnys.com before donating money to ensure that donations are going to a legitimate registered charity.
Finally, the NCDA urges the public to follow the advice of healthcare professionals and medical experts such as the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, NYS Department of Health and the Nassau County Department of Health.