AG Neronha issues urgent warning to consumers as new scams promise COVID-19 stimulus checks

 

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha urges the public to be vigilant as new scams emerge in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Call, e-mails, or text messages promising federal aid checks and seeking upfront payment, bank account information, social security numbers or other personally identifiable information are scams. Individuals should not share personally identifiable information in response to these solicitations.

 

“The checks do not exist yet. If you receive a message promising you that money, it’s a scam,” said Attorney General Neronha. “These are challenging times and many people could use some relief. Unfortunately, there are scammers who will try and take advantage of people in need. If you see it, call us. The more information we get from the public, the more we can get the word out to help others.”

 

Our consumer protection team has received complaints from Rhode Islanders who have received text messages urging them to click on a link to receive their “$1,000 assistance check” or e-mails with the subject line “COVID-19 PANDEMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE.” When consumers click on the link or open the e-mail, they are asked to provide personal information, including bank account and social security numbers, to get their check. 

 

If you see these scams or think you have been the victim of a scam, contact our Consumer Protection Unit at (401) 274-4400, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or fill out an online complaint form.

 

The FTC has issued the following guidelines for consumers to keep in mind:

 

  • The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. No fees. No charges. No nothing.
  • The government will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number. Anyone who does so is a scammer.
  • Financial assistance to individuals and families has not yet been authorized. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.

 

This is just the latest scam to emerge during this time of uncertainty. The RIAG offers this additional guidance for protecting against scams and fraud:

 

  • Be vigilant! Don’t click on links in unsolicited e-mails. Always verify the source.
  • Be wary of emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO). These organizations will not be contacting you directly. Visit www.cdc.gov or www.who.int for health-related information.
  • There is currently no vaccine or approved treatment for COVID-19. Any offer promising a vaccination or treatment is a scam.
  • Thoroughly check out any charity or organization seeking donations for COVID-19 related causes. Someone asking for donations - particularly in cash, prepaid credit cards, or gift cards - to help victims of COVID-19, or for “research” into finding a vaccine or cure, is likely a scammer.
  • Look out for scam "investment opportunities.” The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued an investor alert. Before making any type of investment regarding stock in any company, you should contact a legitimate investment company.
  • Beware of online or unsolicited calls or emails from individuals posing as government officials, insurance adjustors or healthcare representatives. Do not provide personal information (such as social security number, date of birth, etc.) to any unsolicited callers.

 

If you think you have been the victim of a scam, contact our Consumer Protection Unit at (401) 274-4400, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or fill out an online complaint form.

 

 

President Trump says he's not sure if he believes the reported last wish of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg's granddaughter said that before her death, the justice dictated a statement that said -- "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed." Trump was interviewed on Fox and Friends and suggested that the note was actually penned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer or Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.        Tropical Storm Beta is moving up the Texas coast. Beta made landfall Monday night brining heavy rains. The storm is forecast to make a hard right and head up the coast today. By Wednesday evening, it will move into southwest Louisiana, which is still recovering from Hurricane Laura.        The NFL is making it clear that not wearing a mask will cost you. The league on Monday fined Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio 100-thousand dollars each for not wearing masks during their Sunday games. All three teams were also fined separately.        The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Wexner Medical Center are set to begin researching the impact of COVID-19 on first responders. University officials confirmed yesterday their upcoming five-year study would be funded by a ten-million-dollar grant from the National Cancer Institute. The research will follow two-thousand participants over the five years.       The man who killed Beatles icon John Lennon says he did it for glory. Mark David Chapman was denied parole for the 11th time last month for the 1980 murder, when he shot Lennon in front of his New York City apartment. Newly released transcripts from the parole hearing reveal Chapman said he was angry at Lennon and jealous of the way he was living. He also said he had a list of three other celebrity targets if he wasn't able to kill Lennon.        Today is National Voter Registration Day and Twitter is taking it seriously. Every person on Twitter will get a prompt on their timeline to register to vote, or to confirm their registration through TurboVote. That's an online tool from the nonpartisan nonprofit Democracy Works.